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Things to Know About Wind Power in the USA

20 Apr 11:00 by Steve Walia

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Wind energy is taking hold in the USA. Here are top things to know about the sector's growth.

Job creation in the wind energy industry now stands at over 100,000 people in the USA. This is down to strong activity in construction and manufacture, along with ongoing operational and management jobs required to service over 52,000 existing wind turbines. Last year, the wind energy sector in the USA created almost 15,000 full-time jobs. The industry actually created new jobs over 900pc faster than America's overall economy.

Wind is now the leading source of renewable energy generation capacity in the USA, having exceeded hydroelectricity - the previous number one. Now that stability has been secured at a federal policy level, the industry managed to install over 8,200MW of fresh capacity last year, with a total of 82,143MW now installed. This represents enough energy capacity to power more than 24 million US homes.

New generation records have been set too. Wind power produced more than a third of total electricity in South Dakota and Iowa last year and more than 20pc in North Dakota, Oklahoma and Kansas. Now there are 20 states producing over 5pc of their total electricity needs through wind sources. 

The manufacturing sector as a whole has seen a boost from wind turbine production, with more than 500 factories now producing wind energy components across 41 US states. Manufacturing jobs in wind energy production grew to more than 25,000 last year - a rise of 17pc.

Additionally, productivity is being improved by new technology, with advances allowing turbines to access steadier, stronger winds, and better control systems that can optimise generation. Capacity factors of more than 40pc were achieved last year, whilst the cost of the energy dropped by more than 66pc.