The Energy Department released a new report on August 14 highlighting strong growth in the U.S. wind energy market in 2011. According to the 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, the United States remained one of the world's largest and fastest growing wind markets in 2011. Wind power represented 32% of all new electric capacity additions in the nation last year, accounting for $14 billion in new investment. Additionally, the report found that the percentage of wind equipment made in the United States also increased dramatically. Nearly 70% of the equipment installed at U.S. wind farms last year was from domestic manufacturers, doubling from 35% in 2005.
The report finds that in 2011, roughly 6,800 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity was added to the U.S. grid, a 31% increase from 2010 installations. The nation's wind power capacity reached 47,000 MW by the end of 2011 and has since grown to 50,000 MW, or enough electricity to power 13 million homes annually. The country's cumulative installed wind energy capacity grew 16% from 2010, and has increased more than 18-fold since 2000. The report also finds that six states now meet more than 10% of their total electricity needs with wind power.
According to industry estimates, the wind sector employs 75,000 American workers, including workers at manufacturing facilities up and down the supply chain, as well as engineers and construction workers who build and operate the wind farms. Despite recent technical and infrastructure improvements and continued growth in 2012, the report finds that 2013 may see a dramatic slowing of domestic wind energy deployment due in part to the possible expiration of federal renewable energy tax incentives, including the Production Tax Credit and the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. See the Energy Department press release and the complete report.