This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 29, 2003

U.S. Wind Power Growth Slows to 10 Percent in 2002

The installed wind generating capacity in the United States increased by 10 percent in 2002, announced the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) on January 23rd. Though the 410 megawatts of new wind power still represent a healthy growth, the results are disappointing compared to the record growth in 2001, when U.S. wind generating capacity increased by about 66 percent. AWEA cited energy industry retrenchment as one reason for the slowed growth, but also noted uncertainty about the production tax credit, which is due to expire at the end of this year. The credit provides a tax break of 1.5 cents (in 1992 dollars) per kilowatt-hour of wind power. Despite continued uncertainties, AWEA projects that renewed growth will boost U.S. wind capacity by about 1,500 to 1,800 megawatts in 2003, an increase of about 32 to 38 percent. See the AWEA press release.

The early signs of that renewed growth are evident in Oklahoma, which is slated to receive its first large-scale wind plant. Zilkha Renewable Energy announced on January 27th that Western Farmers Electric Cooperative has signed a 20-year agreement to buy power from the proposed 64-megawatt Blue Canyon wind facility. The cooperative and its member utilities service most of the state. The new wind facility will be located north of Lawton and is expected to begin commercial operation by the end of this year. Zilkha will share ownership of the plant with Kirmart Corporation. See the Zilkha press release.

On a global level, Germany was the clear winner in 2002, achieving a 37 percent growth in capacity and maintaining its world leadership with 12,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity. See the press release from Bundesverband WindEnergie e.V. (PDF 55 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.