Last year the U.S. wind energy industry installed a record 8,358 megawatts of new generating capacity that can serve more than 2 million homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association

The Washington, D.C.-based trade association of America’s wind industry has more than 1,800 member companies.

At the end of 2008, however, financing for new wind projects and orders for turbine components slowed and the wind turbine manufacturing sector started to get slammed with layoffs.

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According to Denise Bode, chief executive of the association, there needs to be quick action on the stimulus bill to restore the industry’s momentum and create jobs.

The new wind projects completed last year account for about 42 percent of the entire new power-producing capacity added across the U.S. last year, according to initial estimates,

Wind energy generating capacity in the U.S. now totals 25,170 megawatts, which can power the equivalent of close to 7 million homes.

The top five states, in terms of wind power generating capacity, are Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota and Washington.

The wind industry has about 85,000 workers, or 35,000 more than a year ago. Many of the 8,000 construction jobs within the industry are at risk if financing for new wind projects is not met, said the association.

“The hope is that provisions such as those included in the House stimulus bill to restore the effectiveness of the tax incentives for renewable energy will quickly become law and provide the capital needed to continue to build projects,” said Bode, in a statement.

Source: BizJournals

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