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U.S. wind energy production surges in 2011: report
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2012-08-15 08:24

The U.S. Energy Department said on Tuesday in a report that America remained one of the world's largest and fastest growing wind markets in 2011.

According to the 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, in 2011 roughly 6,800 megawatts of new wind power capacity was added to the U.S. grid, a 31 percent increase from 2010 installations. The U.S. wind power capacity reached 47,000 megawatts by the end of 2011 and has since grown to 50,000 megawatts, enough to power 13 million homes annually. The U.S. cumulative installed wind energy capacity grew 16 percent from 2010, and has increased more than 18- fold since 2000.

The new report also finds that wind power represents a 32 percent of all new electric capacity additions in the U.S. last year and accounts for 14 billion dollars in new investment.

The Energy Department said technology advance and infrastructure improvement ensured U.S. competitiveness on the global market. Technical innovation allows for larger wind turbines with longer, lighter blades, which has turned out better wind turbine performance and increased the efficiency of power generation. Meanwhile, thanks to declining maintenance cost, the price of wind power under long-term power purchase contracts with utilities averaged 40 percent lower than in 2010.

Wind energy is a critical part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy that U.S. President Barack Obama has emphasized in many occasions. However, in 2013 the wind energy industry may slow down due in part to the expiration of federal renewable energy tax incentives like the Production Tax Credit (PTC) at the end of this year. Together with the PTC, the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit provides a 30 percent investment credit to manufacturers who invest in clean energy projects.

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