The United States has been called the Saudi Arabia of wind. But for the first time ever, China has exceeded the U.S. in newly installed wind capacity.
In a report released Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy details how all old records of wind power have been broken. In 2009, the U.S. added roughly 10,000 megawatts of new capacity—that's 40% more than was added the previous year.
To put those numbers in perspective, the solar power industry added just 481 megawatts of new capacity during that period, a far cry from the growing wind market. Wind now contributes to 39% of all new electrical capacity in the U.S.
Still, even with these record-shattering figures, China slid into first place in annual wind power additions. The U.S. becomes the world's second leader of wind power, representing about 26% of the market, compared with China's 36% share.
Cumulatively, however, America remains in first place, with more than 35,000 megawatts total of wind power capacity; China stands at 25,832 MW.
The good news obviously is that wind power trends continue to point upward for both countries. If the above data isn't evidence enough, then just look to the total investment in wind tech in 2009: $21 billion. That's more than 30% of all investments in wind technology in the U.S. since the 1980s—in just one year.