The U.S. wind energy sector grew by 15 percent in 2010 and accounted for more than a quarter of all new U.S. electric generating capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) 2010 Annual Market Report. There are currently 40,181 megawatts of wind power installed in the United States, with the potential to power more than 10 million American homes.
"The American wind industry is delivering, despite competing with energy sectors that have permanent government subsidies in place," said Denise Bode, AWEA CEO. "Wind is consistently performing, adding 35 percent of all new generating capacity since 2007. That's twice what coal and nuclear added, combined."
Competitive, lower costs as compared to other sources of power and the extension of the Treasury Department's Section 1603 tax credit program have spurred the wind industry's growth. Manufacturing to support the sector is growing, too. In 2010, 14 new plants began operating, similar to 2009 levels.
While 2010 was a positive year for the wind sector, AWEA says the United States needs to continue diversifying its energy portfolio.
"We remain on track to produce 20 percent of America's electricity by 2030 with wind, as laid out by the Department of Energy during the Bush Administration," Bode said. "We know wind is ready to deliver even more of our portfolio with clean, affordable, homegrown power."