The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) issued its mid-year report of wind-energy installations and the news is not good. Installations of wind power systems totaled 700 MW in the second quarter of the year, bringing the total for 2010 to 1,239 MW, a drop of 71 percent from 2009 levels, and demand is not sufficient to keep wind-turbine production plants churning. Manufacturing investment also continues to lag below 2008 and 2009 levels, according to the AWEA Mid-Year 2010 Market Report.
Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA, attributed the drop-off to uncertainty over government support for renewable energy. "Strong federal policy supporting the U.S. wind energy industry has never been more important,” she said. “We have an historic opportunity to build a major new manufacturing industry. Without strong, supportive policy like an RES (renewable energy standard) to spur demand, investment, and jobs, manufacturing facilities will go idle and lay off workers if Congress doesn't act now - before time runs out this session."
Wind energy capacity growth has been subject to a vicious boom-and-bust cycle over the past three years as seen in this image from AWEA's report: