Wind power breezes through the tough times

by Mike Gaworecki

February 4, 2010

Despite the tough economic times we’re living in, wind power continues to expand around the globe. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the worldwide wind power capacity grew by 31% last year, adding 37.5 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy to the global mix. This just points out all the more clearly that it ain’t just the answer to our climate woes that is blowing in the wind.

Spain’s Maranchon Wind Farm is the largest in Europe with 104 generators, and is operated by Iberdrola, the largest wind energy company in the world. © Greenpeace / Daniel Beltrá

As we continue to search for ways to foster an economic recovery, the incredible growth of wind power capacity around the world shows that wind energy is not just the right choice for saving the climate, but also for creating jobs and putting folks back to work.

The American Wind Energy Association reports that the US didn’t do too shabby itself, installing a record-breaking 10,000 megawatts (MW), or 10 GW, of new wind power capacity in 2009. This brings total wind capacity in the US up to 35 GW. But according to the GWEC, China contributed a third of the global wind power expansion last year, marking the fifth straight year in which the country at least doubled its capacity for generating power from the wind. China is now producing more than 25 GW of power from the wind, up from just over 12 GW the year before. Kinda puts our 10 GW increase into perspective. For a country that prides itself on innovation and forward-thinking, the US can and should do better.

Here we are in America still fighting for our first large-scale offshore wind project, Cape Wind. If you haven’t already, sign our petition calling on Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to approve Cape Wind and help get us on the path to a clean, green future.

But even if we were to go all in for wind power tomorrow, how would we get that clean energy from the point of production to the point of consumption? Glad you asked! It just so happens we have just released a report describing how global electricity grids can sustain high levels of renewable energy. The report is called Renewables 24/7, click that link and you can download the whole thing as a PDF.

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