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U.S. Named Top Producer Of Wind Energy Last Year

February 3, 2009

Wind power capacity jumped 50 percent last year to over 25 gigawatts in the US alone, making the nation the world’s top producer of wind power, according to an industry survey released on Monday.

The US replaced Germany as the world’s No. 1 source of wind power installations, however Germany gets a much higher percentage of its electricity from wind power, according to industry figures.

New US wind energy installations totaled 8,358 MW for a total installed capacity of 25,170 MW compared to Germany with a total installed capacity of 23,902 MW.

Spain followed Germany, and China was ranked fourth, although the report showed that China shows strong signs of growth.

Spanish wind power business group AEE said on Monday that it expected similar growth in 2009 as last year.

Overall, global wind energy capacity increased by 28.8 percent last year ““ that’s higher than the average over the past decade, said the GWEC.

“These figures speak for themselves: there is huge and growing global demand for emissions-free wind power, which can be installed quickly, virtually everywhere in the world,” said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of GWEC.

Wind energy is the only power generation technology that can deliver the necessary cuts in CO2 in the critical period up to 2020, when greenhouse cases must peak and begin to decline to avoid dangerous climate change,” he said.

Sawyer added that the 120 GW of wind capacity in place at the end of 2008 would save 158 million tons of CO2 each year.

American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode said: “The U.S. wind energy industry turned in a record-shattering performance in 2008, establishing wind as one of the leading sources of new electricity generation in the country and a job creation dynamo.”

“At the same time, it is clear that the economic and financial downturn have begun to take a serious toll on new wind development. We look forward to working with President Obama and the new Congress on policies to restore the industry’s vital momentum and achieve President Obama’s goal of doubling renewable energy production in three years.”

Last week, the US Senate Finance Committee approved about $31 billion in tax breaks and incentives for boosting alternative energy supplies.
The United States is also expected to oust Germany this year as the world’s biggest producer of solar power, thanks in part to its sunnier climate, Jefferies analyst Michael McNamara told Reuters.

Shi Pengfei, Vice President of the Chinese Wind Energy Association acknowledge the strong growth China experienced and vowed that the nation would continue to increase its wind power capabilities.

“The outlook for the coming years is also very healthy,” said Pengfei.

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