Despite significant challenges in 2010, the U.S. wind industry continued to make good on its promise to strengthen America, and laid the foundation for a strong return in 2011. As the year closed, industry leaders appealed to Washington to adopt a long-term energy plan so the benefits of wind energy can continue for decades to come.
"While the industry saw the all-too-real impacts of having no long-term U.S. policies toward renewable energy, the industry nevertheless made significant advances in 2010," said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.
"Wind power supply chain manufacturers continued to announce new U.S. plants despite an uncertain economic climate. The industry reached over 50 percent domestic content for turbines installed in the U.S. In addition, advances were made in regional transmission plans, the market for smaller turbines grew 15%, and offshore wind took major steps on the path to the first U.S. installations.
"And, utility-scale wind energy achieved the milestone of supplying 20 percent of the electricity in Iowa-an achievement reached right in America's heartland. That shows how large amounts of wind power can be integrated into the nation's energy mix. We continue to work toward the goal of supplying 20 percent of electricity nationwide by 2030, the target set under the administration of President George W. Bush."
The year 2010 closed out with Congress extending by one more year the Section 1603 Investment Tax Credit for renewable energy, a policy which helped the industry emerge as a bright spot in the U.S. economy and keep 85,000 Americans working even at the depth of the recession.
Bode also pointed out, however, that wind power's growing stature within the group of mainstream electricity sources has drawn fire from other industries. "In 2010, fossil fuel-funded attacks put U.S. incentives for wind power at risk," Bode said. "Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal editorial page has been running a series of one-sided challenges to renewable energy, while overlooking all the negative effects of conventional sources, including their enormous costs to taxpayers. And America fell to third place in wind installations behind China and the European Union, both of which have implemented long-term policies to provide a stable environment for wind power to operate."
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