U.S. Wind Industry Calls for Renewable Energy Standard

by | May 6, 2009

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windturbinesThe U.S. wind industry is counting on legislation that would mandate that 25 percent of the country’s electricity be generated from renewable sources by 2025, up from around 7 percent now, with wind making up 1.5 percent, reports Reuters.

Investment in new wind power capacity that grew from $3 billion in 2005 to $17 billion in 2008 was projected to fall to $13 billion this year, due to lost financing, low prices for natural gas and political uncertainty, reports Reuters. Analysts told the news organization that the fallout for the U.S. industry, the world’s largest producer of wind power at 28,000 megawatts (MW), could result in industry consolidation.

However, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently reported that more than 2,800 megawatts of wind energy industry was installed in the United States over the of the first quarter of 2009. New projects in 15 states now bring total wind power generating capacity in the U.S. to 28,206 MW.

Attendees at the Windpower 2009 conference this week called on U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to lobby for congressional passage of legislation to create a national renewable energy standard, reports Reuters.

“At no time in our history has the need for a new energy policy been so urgent,” Salazar told members of the American Wind Energy Association at the Windpower 2009 Conference. Salazar estimates that if the U.S. fully pursues its potential for wind energy on land and offshore, it can generate as much as 20 percent of U.S. domestic electricity by 2030 and create a quarter-million jobs.

Supporters of a national standard say it would provide a target and boost demand for the “credits” that wind farms and other renewable projects create, according to Reuters.

The AWEA supports a National Renewable Electricity Standard and says it is necessary to provide the U.S.-wide commitment businesses need to invest tens of billions of dollars in clean energy installations and manufacturing facilities, and to create hundreds of thousands of American jobs.

Despite the lack of a national renewable energy standard and lower growth projections, major suppliers like Siemens Energy are moving ahead with production plans to meet demand for wind turbines in the Americas. Siemens Energy just announced that it will establish the company’s first U.S. nacelle production facility in Hutchinson, Kansas. The 300,000-square-foot nacelle facility and an adjacent 80,000-square-foot service and repair facility is also the first major wind turbine equipment factory in Kansas, which is expected to create 400 green collar jobs.

Peter Loscher, CEO of Siemens AG, said he believes that the U.S will continue to be one of the world’s fastest growing wind energy markets

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