Proponents claim the technology reduces greenhouse gas emissions, conserves hydrological resources and helps to stabilize traditional energy prices.
Though the industry is in its infancy, wind farms can be found in 34 states. Nevertheless, proponents claim policy changes are needed if the industry is to continue to grow.
The proliferation of wind energy in the United States may well be tied to a 1.5 cent per kilowatt hour federal tax credit. According to American Wind, this incentive translates into a 1.9 cent per kilowatt hour bonus when adjusted for inflation. From Texas to Washington state, power companies and individuals have stepped forward to take advantage of the credit.
The wind energy tax incentive was due to expire on December 31, 2007 but it has been extended through the end of 2008. The line-item was not part of the 2007 Energy Bill recently signed by President Bush and the fate of the incentive is still unknown.
Scientific groups also have endorsed wind power as a reasonable choice when it comes to renewable energy. A recent study by the National Research Council, or N-R-C, shows power produced by wind turbines is a low cost alternative when compared to many renewable energy sources. And NRC data shows wind power could be used to cost effectively generate up to 7 percent of the nations electrical power.
Currently, wind energy amounts to only 1 percent of the nations electrical power output.
Wind Energy Leaders #1 Texas -4356MW #2 California -2439MW #3 Minnesota -1299MW #4 Iowa -1273MW # 5Washington-1163MW
source: American Wind Energy Association