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 July 28, 2010
AWEA Q2 Report Reveals Significant Slow Down in U.S. Wind Energy Deployment

 The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently announced that with only 700 MW added in the second quarter of 2010, wind power installations to date this year have dropped by 57 percent and 71 percent from 2008 and 2009 levels, respectively. Manufacturing investment also continues to lag below 2008 and 2009 levels. AWEA and a broad coalition of renewable energy, labor, utility, and environmental organizations are calling on Congress with an urgent appeal to put in place a strong national renewable electricity standard (RES) to spur demand for renewable energy, attract manufacturing investment, and save and create jobs.

Wind power's boom-and-bust cycles, shown in the chart below, not only cause layoffs but also discourage investment in new manufacturing facilities. In effect, the U.S. is losing the clean energy manufacturing race to Europe and China, which have firm, long-term renewable enegy targets and policy commitments in place.

Figure: Boom-and-bust Installation of Wind Industry. Source: AWEA

An RES is also politically popular: According to a national poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Bennett, Petts & Normington, an RES is popular among American voters with strong support across party lines, with 65% of Republican voters, 69% of Independents and 92% of Democrats favoring the legislation.

While wind turbine orders saw a slight uptick in 2Q, mostly for 2010 delivery, the order level continues to be below what is needed to drive more manufacturing, according to AWEA. New wind turbine manufacturing facility openings dropped from 2008 and 2009 levels, with only two new manufacturing facilities coming online in the first half of 2010, compared to seven in 2008 and five in 2009.

To date in 2010, the U.S. has installed more coal and natural gas power plants than wind and other clean, renewable energy sources. By contrast, during the previous two years, wind roughly matched new natural gas, and together the two sources accounted for about 90% of all new annual generating capacity installed over the past 5 years.

Texas is the state that installed the most new wind power in 2Q. However, near-term activity is now concentrated in the Midwest, Northwest, and Intermountain regions.

The Q2 report is available on the AWEA Web site at http://www.awea.org/publications/reports/2Q10.pdf.

Source: Clean Edge News