U.S. Wind Energy Expanded Nearly 10 GW in 2009

Washington, D.C., January 26, 2010 - The U.S. wind energy industry broke all previous records by installing nearly 10,000 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity in 2009 (enough to serve over 2.4 million homes) according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) in its “Year End 2009 Market Report.”

The 9,922 MW installed last year expand the nation's wind plant fleet by 39% and bring total wind power generating capacity in the U.S to over 35,000 MW. The five-year average annual growth rate for the industry is now 39%, up from 32% between 2003 and 2008. U.S. wind projects today generate enough to power the equivalent of 9.7 million homes, protecting consumers from fuel price volatility and strengthening our energy security.

“The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers,”

—Denise Bode, AWEA CEO

“The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “But U.S. wind turbine manufacturing — the canary in the mine — is down compared to last year's levels, and needs long-term policy certainty and market pull in order to grow. We need to set hard targets, in the form of a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), in order to provide the necessary stability for manufacturers to expand their U.S. operations and to seize the historic opportunity we have today to build up a thriving renewable energy industry.”

America's wind power fleet will avoid an estimated 62 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to taking 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cars off the road, and will conserve approximately 20 billion gallons of water annually, which would otherwise be withdrawn for steam or cooling in conventional power plants.

Texas again gained the largest amount of new capacity bringing the state past the 9-GW mark. Iowa now has a total of 3,670 MW installed, consolidating its position as #2, behind Texas and ahead of California. With several large wind farms added, Washington pulled ahead of Minnesota in the ranking of top five states. Thirty-six states, including Arizona for the first time, now have utility-scale wind installations and fourteen of them have more than 1,000 MW of wind power capacity. 

The “Year End 2009 Market Report” along with wind energy projects information is available at the American Wind Energy Association web site.