Nov 12, 2014

New analysis: U.S. is world’s number one wind energy producer, leading China and Germany

Washington, D.C., November 11 — The United States has more wind energy supplying its electrical grid than any other country, including China. With enough wind energy already online to power 15.5 million American homes, the world-record productivity of American wind power illustrates the success of the results-based federal Production Tax Credit now up for renewal.

Until recently the international standings in wind energy production have been difficult to establish because of missing data, but it can now be revealed that the U.S. holds roughly a 20 percent world lead in total wind-generated electricity – electrons actually delivered to factories, businesses and homes. That's although China pulled ahead of the U.S. several years ago in installed wind turbine capacity, the theoretical maximum that all turbines would produce if running full-out, in which it holds roughly a 50 percent lead. Two recent reports by international monitoring groups contain the data needed to conclude that the U.S. has actually been No. 1 in wind energy production since 2008 when it passed Germany, which is now in third place.

"America is blessed with outstanding wind resources. We invented utility-scale wind farms, and by investing in building and fine-tuning them here in the U.S., we now have some of the best infrastructure ever built in this country," said the author of the new analysis, Dr. James Walker, a pioneer of wind power. "This is a victory for American productivity, in an industry that began here and has rapidly evolved with the ingenuity of U.S. inventors, engineers, manufacturers, and developers."

Over $120 billion worth of U.S. wind projects have been installed since the year 2000. Their high quality and reliability h&s can be seen in their availability to operate on average more than 95 percent of the time the wind is strong enough to generate power.

"This shows once again that wind energy is an American success story," said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan on a conference call today with reporters. "We've built an industry that's revitalizing local and rural economies in the U.S., attracting $15 billion a year in private investment into our economy, and we're leading the world in production.

"We have common-sense federal tax policy to thank for this production, the Production Tax Credit, which only rewards results. And being number one in the world is the best result you can ask for."

"This is a win-win game," Walker added, "but the way we got there over the last 10 or 15 years has been uniquely American. What is rewarded gets done. And competition improves the product."

In 2013, the United States produced over 167 billion kWh of wind energy, whereas China produced and delivered 138 billion kWh, according to Walker's analysis. It relies on data from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Agency, the International Energy Agency, the Global Wind Energy Council, and the American Wind Energy Association.

American wind power not only leads the world in production, it does so with an American-made product, as more than half of the value of U.S. wind farms is now "made in the USA" with the favorable environment for investment in U.S. factories that the Production Tax Credit provides.

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