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U.S. wind power grew 31 percent in 2011

U.S. wind power grew 31 percent in 2011

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A trade association says that the wind energy sector's megawatts (MW) installed in the United States grew 31 percent in 2011. The industry is calling for a tax credit's renewable to support its continued growth.

A trade organization dedicated to advancing wind energy in the United States says that 2011 was a strong year for the industry, and forecasts steady demand throughout this year.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) found that slightly over 6,810 megawatts (MW) were installed domestically in 2011, an increase of 31 percent for the year. 8,300 MW are under construction this year, it says.

California has the highest MW installations, followed closely by Illinois, according to AWEA. Kansas has the most MW under construction for 2012, and Ohio was gusting ahead as the fastest growing state in wind power for 2011. The leading vendors were Generic Electric, Vestas Wind Systems, and Siemens, respectively, Bloomberg reports.

"This shows what wind power is capable of: building new projects, powering local economies and creating jobs," said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. "Traditional tax incentives are working. This tremendous activity is being driven by the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) - which leveraged an average of more than $16 billion a year in private investment over the last several years and supported tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs."

The PTC is slated to expire at the end of 2012 if Congress does not renew it. President Obama asked Congress to act during his State of the Union address, but there is substantial opposition to its extension within the Republican Party.

Only New Gingrich has expressed support for the PTC's renewal out of the GOP Presidential candidates. The wind energy sector attracted US$74.9 in private equity last year, second only to solar power.

(Photo Credit: AWEA)

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David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure