The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released two new reports, where it said that wind energy has become the number one source of new electricity generation capacity in the country.
The DOE report said that wind energy accounted for 40% of all new electric additions in 2012, representing $25bn in US investment.
The two new wind reports, ‘2012 Wind Technologies Market Report’ released by the US Energy Department and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and ‘2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications’ released by the US Energy Department and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
According to the 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report, in 2012, more than 13GW of wind power was added to the national grid, which is twice the wind capacity added in 2011.
The addition of wind energy has helped the country to exceed 60GW at the end of 2012, which is enough to power more than 15 million homes each year.
The report also states that the manufacturing of wind turbine equipment installed in 2012 in the country has increased nearly three-fold from 25% in 2006-07.
It also found that nine states now rely on wind power for more than 12% of their total annual electricity consumption – with wind power in Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas contributing more than 2%.
Additionally, Texas added more than 1.8GW of wind power in 2012, while on a cumulative basis, Texas installed 12GW at the end of 2012.
Technical and design innovation allowing for larger wind turbines with longer, lighter blades has steadily improved wind turbine performance and has expanded wind energy production to less windy areas, according to the 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report.
The 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications finds that distributed wind in the US reached a ten-year cumulative installed capacity of more than 812MW at the end of 2012.
The distributed wind capacity increased by 175MW between 2011 and 2012, accounting for 80% of the growth from utility-scale installations in the US.
The states of Iowa, Massachusetts, California and Wisconsin led the country in new distributed wind power capacity in 2012.
For new capacity additions, 2013 is expected to be a slow year due in part to continued policy uncertainty and project development timelines, according to the 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report.
The report also noted that 2014 is expected to be more robust, as developers commission projects that will begin construction in 2013, while projections for 2015 and beyond are much less certain.
The Obama administration has committed to double the renewable electricity generation from energy resources like wind power by 2020.
US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said, "The tremendous growth in the US wind industry over the past few years underscores the importance of consistent policy that ensures America remains a leader in clean energy innovation."
Image: Wind energy accounted for 40% of all new electric additions in the US in 2012. Photo: courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.