US installations for 2010 fail to match 2009 pace

UNITED STATES: The US installed 5,115MW of new wind capacity in 2010, barely over half as much as 2009 (9922MW), according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

The figure takes the US’s total capacity to 40.1GW. It also rubber stamps China’s claim to have overtaken the US in terms of installed capacity, with a total of 41.8GW.

AWEA said 3,195MW of wind energy came online in the fourth quarter of 2010, 918MW below the same period in 2009. However, this was significantly higher than the same figure reported for Q3.

The organisation said it was optimistic about 2011 with 5.6GW in the pipeline to date.

AWEA CEO Denise Bode used the announcement to push for greater government support. "Our industry continues to endure a boom-bust cycle because of the lack of long-term, predictable federal policies, in contrast to the permanent entitlements that fossil fuels have enjoyed for 90 years or more.

"Now that we're competing with natural gas on cost, we need consistent federal policies to ensure we have a diverse portfolio of energy sources in this country, and don't become over-reliant on one source or another."