31 March 2010

Wind Power Soared Past 150,000 Megawatts in 2009

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Even in the face of a worldwide economic downturn, the global wind industry posted another record year in 2009 as cumulative installed wind power capacity grew to 158,000 megawatts

says J. Matthew Roney, Staff Researcher for the Earth Policy Institute , in a recent release, "Wind Power Soared Past 150,000 Megawatts in 2009." "With this 31 percent jump, the global wind fleet is now large enough to satisfy the residential electricity needs of 250 million people. Wind provides electricity in over 70 countries, 17 of which now have at least 1,000 megawatts installed."

China led the way in 2009 with an astonishing 13,000 megawatts of new wind capacity, the first time any country has built more than 10,000 megawatts in a single year. With 25,000 megawatts overall, China has doubled its total installed wind capacity in each of the last five years, bringing it into third place behind the United States and Germany. And considering the ambitious projects already in its development pipeline, it is not likely to stay in third place for long.

The United States passed longtime leader Germany in installed capacity in 2008 and then widened its lead in 2009, expanding its wind fleet by nearly 10,000 megawatts to reach a cumulative 35,000 megawatts. Texas remained the leading state in both annual and total wind installations, reaching 9,400 megawatts overall. And while Iowa is a distant second, with 3,700 megawatts of total wind capacity, at least 17 percent of its electricity generation comes from wind.

In the European Union (EU), Spain added the most new wind in 2009. But with 26,000 total megawatts installed, Germany still commands Europe's largest wind capacity. Two states in northern Germany that have a combined population of 4 million, Sachsen-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, routinely meet some 40 percent of their electricity needs with wind energy.

(ENN - Environmental News network)

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