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

March 16, 2005

Global Wind Power Capacity Grew 20 Percent in 2004

The global wind power industry installed nearly 8,000 megawatts (MW) of new wind turbines in 2004, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). The 20 percent growth in global wind power capacity is actually somewhat lower than in 2002 and 2003, when the world wind capacity grew by 28 percent and 26 percent, respectively. According to GWEC, the slower growth is largely due to a slowdown in the United States, caused by last year's expiration of the production tax credit for wind power (the credit was renewed this year, but will expire again at year's end). With the U.S. slowdown, Europe continued to dominate the world wind power market, installing 5,774 MW that accounted for 72.4 percent of the growth in 2004. Total world wind capacity is now at 47,317 MW, with 16,629 MW in Germany, 8,263 MW in Spain, and 6,740 MW in the United States. See the GWEC press release.

As many wind power developers in the United States rush to take advantage of the production tax credit, one project was recently completed: Catamount Energy's 91.5-MW Sweetwater 2 project, located west of Abilene, Texas, achieved commercial operation in February. Among the many projects underway is a 151-MW expansion of the 74.25-MW Blue Canyon Wind Farm near Lawton, Oklahoma. The Vestas Group is providing 84 1.8-MW wind turbines for the project, which Zilkha Renewable Energy expects to complete in December. Public Service Company of Oklahoma is buying all the wind power from the project. Another project aiming for a year-end completion is the 120-MW San Juan Mesa Wind Project, near Elida, New Mexico, about 65 miles northeast of Roswell. Xcel Energy recently agreed to buy all the power from the project, which is being developed by Padoma Wind Power. Xcel Energy also announced in late February that it will buy all the power from a 12-MW wind project near Velva in central North Dakota. Construction of that project is expected to begin this summer. See the press releases from Catamount Energy, Vestas, the Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Padoma Wind Power, and Xcel Energy.

Taking the longer view, Washington State's Last Mile Electric Cooperative has submitted the permit application for a 200-MW wind plant in Klickitat County, just north of the Columbia River near Roosevelt. If the White Creek Project is approved, the cooperative plans to complete it by the end of 2006. And in New York, plans are underway for the 27-MW Adirondack Wind Energy Park, slated to be built about 80 miles north of Albany in 2007. See the press release and White Creek Project description from the Last Mile Electric Cooperative, and visit the Adirondack Wind Energy Park Web site.