The wind energy industry brought over 4,000 MW of new capacity online in the fourth quarter of 2009, making the year the strongest yet. Recovery Act incentives spurred the growth of construction, operations, and management jobs in 2009, helping the industry to save and create jobs in those sectors and shine as a bright spot in the economy.
At the same time, the continuing lack of a long-term policy and market signal allowed total investment in the manufacturing sector to drop compared to 2008, with one-third fewer online, announced, and expanded wind power manufacturing facilities in 2009. The result was net job losses in the manufacturing sector, which were compounded by low orders due to high inventory.
America's wind power fleet will avoid an estimated 62 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to 10.5 million cars off the road, and will conserve approximately 20 billion gallons of water annually, which would otherwise be withdrawn for steam or cooling in conventional power plants.