Record-breaking year for wind market

The U.S. wind industry broke all previous records by installing nearly 10,000 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity in 2009 (enough to serve over 2.4 million homes), an increase of 39 percent, but U.S. wind turbine manufacturing declined from the previous year, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said today in its Q4 report.

The association had anticipated a drop as large at 50 percent in manufacturing, but the boost in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) helped reduce the economy's impact on turbine production. Yet, the lack of long-term energy policy continues to blunt the sector's growth, the association said.

Wind was surpassed only by natural gas in new electricity production capacity added, and the two together account for 80 percent of the increased power available. Total U.S. wind-generated power surpassed 35,000 MW in 2009.

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