Iowa Public Television


U.S. Wind Power Increases By Almost Half

posted on January 25, 2008

Ethanol, of course, isn't the only source of renewable energy gaining in popularity. According to a recent report, 2007 marked the third consecutive year of record-setting growth of wind power.

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.

U.S. Wind Power Increases By Almost Half In 2007, $9 billion in investments helped the nation's wind generating industry grow by 45 percent. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the increase will allow domestic wind farms to generate 48 billion kilowatt hours of electrical power --enough to operate an estimated 4.5 million homes. And if investments and a federal tax credit are allowed to continue, officials at the wind promotion group believe the industry will swell by an additional 45 percent in 2008.

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

Tags: alternative energy biofuels news renewable fuels wind wind power