The U.S. wind energy industry had its strongest year ever in 2012, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). A record 13,124 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity were installed, leveraging $25 billion in private investment and achieving over 60,000 MW of cumulative wind capacity.
The milestone of 60,000 MW (60 gigawatts) was reached just five months after the AWEA announced last August that the U.S. industry had 50,000 MW installed. Today’s 60,007 MW is reportedly enough clean and affordable wind power to power the equivalent of almost 15 million homes, or the number in Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, and Ohio combined.
In 2012, wind energy for the first time became the number one source of new U.S. electric generating capacity, providing some 42% of all new generating capacity; the final tally will be released in April in the AWEA’s annual report. In fact, 2012 was a strong year for all renewables, as together they accounted for over 55% of all new U.S. generating capacity.
“It is a real testament to American innovation and hard work that for the first time ever a renewable energy source was number one in new capacity,” said Rob Gramlich, interim CEO. “We are thrilled to mark this major milestone in the nation’s progress toward a cleaner energy system.”
Currently installed wind power will reportedly avoid 95.9 million metric tons a year of carbon dioxide emissions, equal to 1.8% of the entire country’s carbon emissions.
For additional information, visit www.awea.org.