wind energy industry installed more than 2,800 megawatts of new generating capacity during the first quarter of 2009, enough to power 816,000 homes, the American Wind Energy Association said.The expansion in capacity was twice the amount of capacity installed during the same period a year earlier, as wind projects under construction in 2008 began to come on line.
The new projects bring total U.S. wind power generation capacity up to 28,206 megawatts, displacing 52 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. There is now enough wind power capacity in the United States to power more than 8 million homes.
"These brand new wind projects shine a ray of hope on our economy today, creating good jobs and powering homes with a clean, inexhaustible source of energy," American Wind Energy Association Chief Executive Officer Denise Bode said in a statement.
"But the nation still lacks the long-term signal that is needed to build up renewable energy on large scale," Bode added.
U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged to double renewable energy production in three years. In Congress, lawmakers in both chambers are considering legislation that would require utilities to generate a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources annually.