Amazingly, for at least one industry 2009 was the breeziest year ever. The American Wind Energy Association is announcing today that the wind power industry increased its total capacity by 39% last year, which translates to 9, 900 more megawatts. This following the previous biggest-gaining year, 2008.
The trade association said that investment funds made available by the stimulus bill were the main reason for the remarkable growth. But not all is sunny for the future of wind. Turbines still only generate 2% of the country’s total electrical usage and much of 2009’s gains were due to enthusiastic 2008 orders being filled. Still, as global warming continues to be a vexing problem and exploration of alternate energy sources remains robust, the turbine business should thrive.
Some experts are predicting that by 2020 (not as far off as you think!), capacity will hit 180, 000 megawatts, or five times more than will be produced in 2010. As is, wind warriors are able to harness enough sweet, sweet air to keep the lights on in close to 10 million homes. Hey, by 2020 there might only be 10 million homes left anyway! Kidding!
Jokes aside, all this growth provides yet more proof of something we all should have learned long, long ago: Never doubt a man named T. Boone Pickens. You’ll only come to regret it.