2008 was a big year for wind power development in the United States having added 8,558 megawatts of new capacity and investing $16.4 billion - making it the most productive year to date, and moving us ahead of Germany for for total wind capacity.
According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, "Wind Technologies Market Report," prepared by two Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers, for the fourth straight year, the United States led the world in wind capacity additions, capturing roughly 30% of the worldwide market. And in terms of cumulative wind power capacity, the U.S. ended 2008 at 25,369 megawatts - ahead of Germany’s 23,933 megawatts.
Wind power contributed 42% of all new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2008. This contribution is up from 35% in 2007, 18% in 2006, 12% in 2005, and less than 4% from 2000 through 2004. For the fourth consecutive year, wind power was the second-largest new resource added to the U.S. electrical grid in terms of nameplate capacity, behind natural gas plants, but ahead of new coal.
Washington state boads well in 2008
In terms of wind capacity added in 2008, Washington ranked ninth highest among states at 284 megawatts. Wind accounted for 3.9 percent of Washington's in-state generation at the end of 2008, eleventh highest in the nation. While cumulative capacity of wind power ranks Washington fifth in the nation with 1,447 megawatts.
Texas topped the list for power added in 2008, percent of in-state generation and cumulative capacity, at 7,118 megawatts.