Wind energy shows strong growth in the USAugust 9, 2013
Wind energy accounted for majority of new electricity generation in 2012
Wind energy became the leading source of new electricity generation in the U.S. in 2012, according to a new report from the Department of Energy. The report highlights the strong growth that the wind energy sector has seen over the past year. Much of this growth has been supported by the Production Tax Credit, an initiative that provides financial support to various wind projects throughout the country. 2012 marks the first time in U.S. history that wind energy has beat out fossil-fuels in terms of new energy generation.
Report shows that 13GW of wind capacity was added in 2012
The report shows that wind energy accounted for 43% of new electricity generation in 2012. More than 13 gigawatts of wind capacity was introduced to the U.S. energy grid during the past year, more than double the capacity that the country had seen in 2011. The report also shows that the wind energy industry accounted for some 80,000 workers in 2012. Employment in this sector has been growing at a steady rate for the past several years.
Future of wind power is uncertain
While wind energy managed to make impressive growth in 2012, the Department of Energy notes that the future of wind power is uncertain. The Production Tax Credit, which helps support the various wind energy projects that are currently in development throughout the country, is likely to become a problematic subject in the near future. The Production Tax Credit was set to expire at the end of 2012, but federal lawmakers extended the initiative until the end of 2013. Several lawmakers had intended to put an end to the initiative, which would have cut funding for the majority of the country’s wind energy projects. This has created a sense of unease among wind energy developers, many of whom rely on the initiative to provide financial assistance for their projects.
Offshore wind energy gains momentum
Despite the dubious future of wind power, the Department of Energy does have high hopes for this form of renewable energy. Recently, the agency has been showing support for offshore wind projects, which could have the potential to generate more electrical power than their landed counterparts. The U.S. currently has no active offshore wind energy systems, but that may change in the coming years as more projects move from the conception stage to active development.