Something in the air: New wind project installations taper

Texas still holds lead for new activity.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Seems like someone or something has taken the wind out of the sales of the wind turbine industry. The American Wind Energy Association is reporting that only 700 megawatts of capacity were added during the second quarter of 2010. That rate is off 57 percent from the same period in 2008 and 71 percent in 2009.

Those numbers are part of the organization's second quarter market report and are a return to 2007 activity levels.

Here's the obligatory policy statement from Denise Bode, who is the CEO of the association:

"Strong federal policy supporting the U.S. wind energy industry has never been more important. We have a historic opportunity to build a major new manufacturing industry. Without strong, supportive policy like an [renewable energy standard] to spur demand, investment and jobs, manufacturing facilities will go idle and lay off workers if Congress doesn't act now, before time runs out this session."

All I can say is, get in line. But, increasingly, I fail to see why we can't seem to figure out that the renewable energy sector as a whole is a huge potential source of new jobs in service, manufacturing and construction. Maybe we're missing something in the way that we're marketing some of these potential bills before Congress.

According to the report, the total wind capacity installed so far this year is 1,239 megawatts, which is 57 percent below 2008 levels and 71 percent 2009 levels. The good news is that activity is expected to gust during the second half, which means that we might end the year with a decline of only around 50 percent compared with the past two years.

Good old Texas accounted for more projects than any other state, bringing its cumulative capacity to 9,708 wind megawatts -- and highlighting again the potential upside for this traditionally oil-dependent state in getting behind renewable energy. That compares with cumulative totals of 2,739 for California and 1,914 for Washington, which are second and third in terms of installed wind capacity, according to the report.

The report includes a comprehensive list of all the projects underway, their locations and who's running them. Definitely a good resource for renewable energy fanatics.

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