Wind installations drop 71% in the first half -- and the forecast past 2010 looks dreary

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“The U.S. wind industry is in distress,” a top renewable energy advocate said Tuesday, and the situation appears as though it could get worse.

Denise Bode, chief executive of the American Wind Energy Assn., said that without a national renewable energy standard, investment and interest in wind projects past 2010 would be headed for a free fall.


Despite more than 5.5 gigawatts under construction, the number of installations this year will still end up 25% to 45% below 2009 levels, according to a new report from the group. And beyond that, there’s a yawning hole in the queue for planned projects.

The first half of the year saw just 1,239 new megawatts come online, a 57% plunge from the same period in 2008 and a 71% drop from last year. Only two new manufacturing plants were built, compared to seven in 2008 and five in 2009.

Even with 2009’s record-breaking year-end total of more than 10,000 megawatts, the U.S. is trailing Europe and China, Bode said. The wild swings in installations also lead to layoffs and distrust of the industry.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Graphic: U.S. wind industry installations. Credit: AWEA