The U.S. ends the year as "Number One" in wind

I came across a very cool story a few days ago and felt it would be a great way to end the year. On December 22, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) identified the wind industry’s top accomplishments of 2008, and highlighted several key environmental and economic achievements that it and its member companies were especially proud of. It’s a good list, and one highlight for me was the fact the the U.S. now leads the world in wind generation. You can find the full press release on the AWEA’s website, but here’s an excerpt of that particular item:

U.S. becomes “Number One” in wind: During the summer of 2008, the U.S. wind industry launched past the 20,000-megawatt (MW) installed capacity milestone, achieving in two years what had previously taken two decades (the 10,000-MW mark was reached in 2006). Also this summer, the U.S. passed Germany to become the world leader in wind generation. By the end of September, the U.S. had over 21,000 MW of wind capacity up and running. With additional projects coming on line every week since, the wind industry is on its way to charting another record-shattering year of growth. That 21,000 MW of capacity will generate over 60 billion kWh of electricity in 2009, enough to serve over 5.5 million American homes and eliminating the burning of:

  • 30.4 million short tons of coal (enough to fill two 1,000-mile-long coal trains),
  • 91 million barrels of oil per year, or
  • 560 Bcf of natural gas (about 9% of the natural gas used for electricity generation).

The ultimate goal is for about 20% of all U.S. electric power to come from the wind by 2030. That’s a great start to solving our current environmental issues, and a positive note for a trouble-filled 2008. Here’s to a much-improved 2009. Let’s hope all of our achievements are just as interesting.