The U.S. wind energy industry had its strongest year ever in 2012, the American Wind Energy Association announced, installing a record 13,124MW of electric generating capacity, leveraging $25 billion in private investment, and achieving over 60,000MW of cumulative wind capacity.
The milestone of 60,000MW was reached just five months after AWEA announced last August that the U.S. industry had 50,000MW installed. Today’s 60,007MW is enough clean, affordable, American wind power to power the equivalent of almost 15 million homes, or the number in Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, and Ohio combined.
In this historic year of achievement, wind energy for the first time became the number one source of new U.S. electric generating capacity, providing some 42 percent of all new generating capacity; the final tally will be released in April in AWEA’s annual report. In fact, 2012 was a strong year for all renewables, as together they accounted for over 55 percent of all new U.S. generating capacity.
Resulting from 190 projects across 32 states plus Puerto Rico, this new record for annual installations of over 13,000MW by the U.S. industry far surpasses the previous record of 10,000MW installed in 2010.
In last year’s fourth quarter alone, 8,380MW were installed, making it the strongest quarter in U.S. wind power history. This was due in large part to impending expiration of the successful federal Production Tax Credit (PTC). It was slated to end on December 31, 2012, but was extended by Congress on January 1, 2013, as part of the “fiscal cliff package,” the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
The global wind energy industry will gather in Chicago May 5-8 for the world’s largest annual wind power event, WINDPOWER 2013. Thousands of workers and leaders from all sectors will attend to show their wares, attend conference sessions, and seek further solutions for success.