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Report: US Wind Power Market Keeps Growing

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For the fourth consecutive year, the US was home to the fastest-growing wind power market in the world, according to a report released on Friday.

Specifically, US wind power capacity additions increased by 60 percent in 2008, representing a 16-billion-dollar investment in new wind projects, said the report released by the US Department of Energy and prepared by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

Wind projects accounted for 42 percent of all new electric generating capacity added in the US in 2008, and wind now delivers nearly two percent of the nation's electricity supply, the report said. "At this pace, wind is on a path to becoming a significant contributor to the US power mix," noted report author Ryan Wiser, of Berkeley Lab.

According to the report, the US overtook Germany to take the lead in cumulative wind capacity installations. And the growth is distributed across much of the US.

Texas leads the nation with 7,118 MW of new wind capacity, but 13 states had more than 500 MW of wind capacity as of the end of 2008, with seven topping 1,000 MW, and three topping 2,000 MW. Over 10 percent of the electricity generation in Iowa and Minnesota now comes from wind power.

Market growth is spurring manufacturing investments in the US as several major foreign wind turbine manufacturers either opened or announced new US wind turbine manufacturing plants in 2008.

The report also said that expectations are for a slower year in 2009, in large part due to the global recession. After a slower 2009, most predictions show market resurgence in 2010 and continuing for the immediate future.

(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2009)