U.S. Wind Power Forecast to Rise in 2007 - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/24/06 - Washington, D.C.

U.S. Wind Power Forecast to Rise in 2007

Investors poured about $4 billion into new U.S. wind energy projects in 2006, boosting the nation's total wind-generation capacity by 27 percent, a trade group said Tuesday.

The American Wind Energy Association also gave a rosy outlook for 2007, projecting an increase of 26 percent in wind-generation capacity nationwide. The trade group credited the boom in wind power to growing electricity demand, higher energy prices and increased interest in clean energy.

"Wind is a proven, cost-effective source of energy that also alleviates global warming and enhances our nation's energy security," Randall Swisher, the wind association's executive director, said in a statement. Swisher also praised Congress for extending a tax credit on wind power through 2008 and called for extending the credit another five years.

Energy experts consider wind power to be attractive to utilities because of its low cost compared with other renewable forms of electricity such as solar power. But the ability to generate electricy from wind is limited, and some projects such as the proposed offshore Cape Wind development off Cape Cod, have generated intense controversy over their environmental impacts.

Last year, energy companies installed wind turbines with the ability to generate 2,454 megawatts of power, boosting the nation's total wind capacity to more than 11,600 megawatts, the wind association said. A wind turbine that generates up to one megawatt of electricity can serve about 250 to 300 homes daily. Less than 1 percent of the nation's electricity comes from wind.

Major makers of wind turbines include Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems and General Electric Co.

Texas is now the state with the largest wind generating capacity, replacing California, the first state to develop large wind energy projects in the 1980s.

Florida-based FPL Group Inc. last year opened the world's largest wind farm, the 735-megawatt Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center west of Fort Worth.

Large-scale wind projects opened in 20 states last year, led by Washington state, California, New York and Minnesota. The wind association's data was collected from wind farm developers and makers of wind turbines.

Shares of General Electric fell 20 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $36.55 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange, where they have traded between $32.06 and $38.49 over the past 52 weeks. Shares of FPL rose 10 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $54.85, on the NYSE, where they have traded between $37.81 and $55.58 over the past 52 weeks.

Story courtesy of the Associated Press.

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