Last year saw yet another new record for wind power installations in the United States, according to a year-end wrap up from the American Wind Energy Association.
In 2009, the nation installed nearly 10 gigawatts of wind energy capacity, an increase from 2008 despite an economic downturn that took a bite out of electricity consumption. To put that number in perspective, the U.S. installed more wind power in the last 12 months than the total amount of wind power in operation at the end of 2005.
State and federal policies - including state renewable electricity standards, federal tax credits, and funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - have all played major roles in the wind energy boom.
AWEA estimates that America's wind capacity will avert 62 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution per year - a reduction nearly equivalent to 1 percent of America's total emissions of global warming pollution. Those reductions demonstrate yet again America's great potential to reduce emissions quickly when the nation implements sound public policies geared to that purpose.