The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported today that U.S. wind power generating capacity increased by 27% in 2006 and is expected to increase an additional 26% in 2007. The U.S. wind industry installed more than 2.4 gigawatts of new wind capacity during the year, with GE wind turbines accounting for nearly half of that total. GE supplied 764 of its 1.5-megawatt wind turbines for U.S. projects in 2006.
This achievement reflects the tremendous strides wind power is making, as power producers are increasingly turning to renewable energy solutions to diversify and expand their generation portfolios, said Victor Abate, Vice President-Renewables for GE Energy. "Our continued investment in wind energy technology has positioned us well to compete in this growing industry. We are confident that wind power an abundant, domestic and zero-carbon emissions resource will be an integral part of the U.S. energy mix throughout the 21st century.
With some of the worlds best wind resources, the U.S. has the potential to greatly increase its wind energy output in the years ahead, Abate added.
Since entering the wind business in 2002, GE Energy has continued to expand its wind energy operations, increasing its wind engineering team threefold and applying experience and expertise from other GE business units to advance its wind turbine technology.
Today the company is the largest U.S. supplier of wind turbines by a wide margin and among the largest in the world, with wind turbine manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain and China.
Randall Swisher, AWEA executive director, noted that the demand for clean, cost-effective wind power is growing fast, and the U.S. wind energy industry has turned in a record-breaking performance in 2006 to meet that demand. Our association expects an even larger increase in new installations in 2007. Wind power is now one of the largest sources of new power generation in the U.S., and an essential element of the climate change solution.
At the end of 2006, the U.S. wind industry received a major boost with the extension of the federal production tax credit.