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By Samuel R. Avro on Dec 29, 2008 with no responses

Wind Power Expected To Be Key Source of Energy in 2009

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The U.S. wind power industry is seeking to build on this year’s accomplishment of becoming the world leader in wind energy generation.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is expecting the coming year to be very productive in the wind power industry despite the current economic downturn. The organization is pleased by the industry’s “strong strategic position and the prospect of strong policy support from Congress and the new President”.

An approved offshore wind farm in Wales, similar to the one above, is expected to produce enough electricity to power 700,000 homes annualy.

Wind power is now considered a mainstream source of power generation, second only to natural gas plants in new capacity between 2005 and 2007. While the 2008 year-end figures have yet to be released, it is expected that the numbers will prove that the wind sector has kept up the pace it has set in the last few years.

Measured by market share, wind provided 35% of all new power generation added in the U.S. in 2007, the AWEA said in a press release.

The AWEA says that the industry is looking forward to the pledged policies of the incoming administration of Barack Obama which will encourage investment in renewable energy sources, especially in the wind sector.

According to the press release, long term policies which the industry hopes to see, include:

  • adjusting the federal production tax credit (PTC) to make it more effective in the midst of the current economic downturn and extending it for a longer term (it expires at the end of 2009);
  • establishing a national renewable electricity standard (RES) with a target of generating at least 25% of the nation’s electricity from renewables by 2025, and a near-term target of 10% by 2012 (a Washington Post poll in early December found that 84% of Americans support such a standard);
  • legislation and initiatives to develop a high-voltage interstate transmission “highway” for renewable energy; and
  • strong national climate change legislation.

One project which is scheduled to be launched in mid-2009 will surpass the current record for the world’s largest wind farm.

A 781.5 megawatt (MW) project by E.ON Climate & Renewables (EC&R) North America, will become the world record holder once the project goes online.

Currently, FPL Energy’s 736-megawatt (MW) Horse Hollow wind farm in Texas holds the title of being the largest wind farm in the world for the past three years.

“The Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center is an important new source of clean, renewable power for the region that also provides significant economic benefits to the area in the form of taxes, new jobs, lease payments to landowners, and the purchase of local goods and services,” said FPL Energy President Jim Robo.

This year, the United States passed Germany to become the world leader in wind generation.