Tuesday AM January 26th, 2010

Texas has retained its lead as to top state for wind power, based on new generation installed in 2009. Ed Mayberry reports.

wind energyThe American Wind Energy Association says the industry broke all previous records by installing over 9,900 megawatts of new generating capacity—enough to serve over 2.4 million homes.  That expands the the nation's wind plant fleet by 39 per cent, bringing total capacity nationwide to over 35,000 megawatts.  The association's Denise Bode says Recovery Act incentives helped spur the pace of construction.

"The second half of the year really picked up after we were able to start getting financing again with support from the recovery package passed at the first of the year.  The beginning of the year, we were pretty much dead in the water.  Financing will continue to be supported by the Recovery Act through the end of the year, but then the provision expires.  So it creates this whole boom and bust atmosphere from the national level that we're trying to get out of by passing a renewable electricity standard like you all have in Texas." 

Bode says utility companies tend to hold off on making investment decisions until they are confident about long-term policies.

"If you put some policies in place, it is very inexpensive to add this to our portfolio, and the outcome is a whole new manufacturing base in the U.S. at a time when every other industry is outsourcing stuff outside the United States.  If you decide to put a policy in place saying, you know, 'we will support wind and it is in our state's interest of national interest to do it,' then they will come, because we are the best resource base in the world for wind."

The American Wind Energy Association says new projects place wind power neck and neck with natural gas as the leading source of new electricity generation.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...