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A Few Facts about Wind’s Growth in 2014

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world, For I would ride with you upon the wind, Run on the top of the dishevelled tide, And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”? W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

graph of wind energy
Image credit: AWEA

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has some invigorating facts about wind’s growth in 2014. Quoting from their recent blog (emphasis ours):

  • In 2014, 4,854 megawatts (MW) were installed in the U.S. – over four times more new wind energy than in 2013.
  • There were about 2,500 turbines installed in 19 states – enough to power 1.4 million average American homes.
  • The top states for added capacity in 2014 were Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Washington and Colorado.
  • The new installations bring the total amount of wind power installed in the U.S. to 65,879 MW, or over 48,000 turbines.
  • That is enough to power about 18 million average American homes and enough displaced fossil generation to avoid the carbon pollution of over 28 million cars.

This good news is despite the fact that, according to AWEA, “Congress recently let the primary federal incentive for wind power, the Production Tax Credit, expire. Since 2008, over $100 billion in private investment has flowed into the U.S. thanks in large part to that incentive for homegrown energy.”

Still, the news could have been much better had Congress not allowed the Production Tax Credit to expire. Compare U.S. wind growth to, say, Germany, which also achieved record wind growth in 2014:

Renewables International magazine reports that “According to data released yesterday by German wind power association BWE and German engineering association VDMA (PDF), the country installed 4,750 megawatts of onshore capacity last year, up more than 50 percent from the 2,998 megawatts in the previous year and nearly 50 percent more than the record year of around 3,200 megawatts (2002).”

image of america with size of germany
Image source: http://education.randmcnally.com

In other words, a country comparable in size to a large U.S. state alone produced almost as much new wind power as the entire U.S.

If you would like to see our rankings improve, please consider letting your elected representatives know how you feel about wind power and the Production Tax Credit. Also, you may wish to consider a career in this growing field.

Congress must find a way forward [on extending the Production Tax Credit] so we don’t lose years of investment and send this promising industry over another cliff.” ~AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan

Kyle G. Crider (MPA, LEED AP ND) is a professional science and sustainability “story teller.” In his spare time he is pursuing his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary (Environmental Health) Engineering and traveling the highways and by-ways of home state with his wife Beverly in search of fact, fiction, and folklore for Strange Alabama.