There was strong growth in the U.S. wind energy market in 2011, increasing the U.S. share of clean energy.
There was strong growth in the U.S. wind energy market in 2011, increasing the U.S. share of clean energy and supporting job growth in the U.S., according to a report released August 14, by the U.S. Department of Energy or DOE.
The DOE’s 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report reveals that the United States remained one of the world’s largest and fastest growing wind markets in 2011, with wind power representing a remarkable 32 percent of all new electric capacity additions in the United States last year and accounting for $14 billion in new investment.
The report finds that in 2011, roughly 6,800 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity was added to the U.S. grid, a 31 percent increase from 2010 installations. The United States’ wind power capacity reached 47,000 MW by the end of 2011 and has since grown to 50,000 MW, enough electricity to power 13 million homes annually.
The country’s cumulative installed wind energy capacity grew 16 percent from 2010, and has increased more than 18-fold since 2000. The report also finds that six states now meet more than 10 percent of their total electricity needs with wind power.
Technical innovation allowing for larger wind turbines with longer, lighter blades has steadily improved wind turbine performance and increased the efficiency of power generation from wind energy. At the same time, wind project capital and maintenance costs continue to decline, driving U.S. manufacturing competitiveness on the global market.
For new wind projects deployed last year, the price of wind under long-term power purchase contracts with utilities averaged 40 percent lower than in 2010 and about 50 percent lower than in 2009, making wind competitive with a range of wholesale power prices seen in 2011.
“This report shows that America can lead the world in the global race to manufacture and deploy clean energy technologies,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
The United States is committed to supporting the development of wind energy to foster clean, sustainable, and affordable energy for America and for the world.