6 Key Findings About Wind Energy

Wind-powered energy - like that produced by 5,000 or so windmills in the Tehachapi region of Kern County - is growing, with 2009 a record year for investment and production, the U.S. Department of Energy reported.

The 10 gigawatts of capacity added last year represented a $21 billion investment - enough to power the equivalent of 2.4 million homes. Wind power accounted for 39% of all new electricity capacity, and delivers 2.5% of the nation's electrical supply, DOE said in its annual wind-market report.

Here are six other findings:

  • The percentage of wind-turbine components manufactured in the United States has increased from 50% to 60%;

  • Wind-power growth is distributed nationwide, with 28 stated getting turbines in 2009;

  • Seven of the 10 turbine makers with the largest share of the U.S. market last year have domestic manufacturing plants - and two of the remaining three have announced plans to open facilities in the U.S.;

  • Rising wind-power prices and lower wholesale electricity prices make the near-term economics of wind energy more challenging.

  • Financial constraints, electricity prices and energy demand suggest that 2010 will be a slower year for wind power;

  • The market is likely to rebound in 2011 and 2012 as American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus money kicks in and financing restrictions ease.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.