Today, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that 28 new wind energy projects will receive up to $13.8 million in funding for wind turbine research and testing and transmission analysis, planning, and assessments. Most of the $13.8 million comes from Recovery Act funds. Recognizing the struggles that Americans are facing in the current economic climate, Secretary Chu noted that the Recovery Act funds are intended to rebuild the fundamentals of the economy, in part by “spur[ring] a revolution in clean energy technologies.” Chu added that wind energy is a “critical factor” in achieving President Obama’s clean energy and job growth goals.
Secretary Chu’s funding announcement was coupled with the release of the Department of Energy’s 2008 Wind Technologies Market Report. As detailed in the report, the U.S. wind industry continues to reach impressive milestones. For the fourth year in a row, the U.S. boasted the fastest-growing wind power market. Also for the fourth consecutive year, wind power was the second largest new resource added to the electrical grid, contributing 42 percent of all new U.S. electrical generating capacity in 2008. As a result of increased demand for wind, the share of domestically manufactured wind turbine components increased dramatically in the last three years, with about 50 percent of these components now being manufactured in the U.S. In 2008, approximately 8,400 new domestic manufacturing jobs were added in the wind sector. Given these statistics, it is no wonder that cultivating a strong domestic wind industry is one of the keys to meeting the Obama Administration’s clean energy and economic recovery goals.