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Steady yearly growth and eyes on lawmakers
1 February 2007
The United States wind market looks as if it will fall 500 MW short of the industry's earlier projection that 3000 MW of new wind capacity would be installed in 2006 to bring the national total to 12,000 MW. The tally for the year is now running at 2454 MW, on a par with the volume installed in 2005, reports the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), representing annual growth of 27%. Delays in turbine supply and other problems pushed construction of some plant into this year, which again has a 3000 MW target in sight, resulting in a slight drop in the growth rate to 26%. Meantime, all eyes are on the new crop of lawmakers in Congress who have already begun moving various renewable energy items through the legislative process. In his much ballyhooed annual State of the Union speech last month, George Bush echoed his earlier public calls for increased use and support of renewable fuels like ethanol. Wind was mentioned only generally. Watching from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the head of the Danish Wind Industry Association, Bjarne Lundager Jensen, found a silver lining in the president's biofuels proposal: "To convert biomass to biofuel, large quantities of electricity are needed. For this reason, a number of wind stations are being installed in the Midwest with the specific aim of delivering energy for biofuel production." Policy proposals from the president must be approved by Congress before they can become law.
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