The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) awarded the United States of America with the first position in wind energy production. US has a huge lead compared to other countries as last year they increased their wind energy capacity by half. US windmills can generate up to 25GW of energy – about a fifth of global wind power.
Secondly placed was Germany, with China coming very strong from behind.
China doubled their capacity of producing energy by harvesting wind power and is now to around 12GW but expects to double its capacity one more time this year. China starts to build more wind turbines rivaling European producers who have dominated the wind energy sector up to now.
According to GWEC: “Global wind energy capacity grew by 28.8% last year, to reach total global installations of more than 120.8 GW at the end of 2008”.
Unfortunately US was slowed down this year by the financial crisis and orders of new turbines have already been canceled.
At the same time US confronts itself with yet another problem. As wind farms sprouted up so quickly, there is a lack of power transmission lines. This has become an urgent priority for the largest wind energy producing state, Texas.
Texas leads the country in wind production, with close to three times as much wind capacity as the second-placed state, Iowa. Texas regulators already found 13 companies that will built transmission lines to aid wind power production in the state.
2,400 miles of transmission lines will need an investment of around $5 billion. These lines will bring power to the western part of the state, to cities like Dallas and Houston.
The lack of transmission lines will result in closing many wind farms across the US even if there is plenty of wind to harvest. So even if US is still first place in wind production it could lose the title by next year.
US wind producers look forward for government support on tax incentives and subsidies to power the industry, similar to the funding received by wind companies in Europe and Asia. This could put the wind industry back on track in US. Besides, president Barack Obama has a plan to double the wind harvesting capacity in the next 3 years.
As the planet starts using alternative energy as a must, there is still hope for a clean environment.