Monday, January 28, 2008

INSTALLED U.S. wind power capacity surged 45% in 2007

Shattering all its previous records, the U.S. wind energy industry installed 5,244 megawatts (MW) in 2007, expanding the nation’s total wind power generating capacity by 45% in a single calendar year and injecting an investment of over $9 billion into the economy, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced today. The new wind projects account for about 30% of the entire new power-producing capacity added nationally in 2007 and will power the equivalent of 1.5 million American households annually while strengthening U.S. energy supply with clean, homegrown electric power.

“This is the third consecutive year of record-setting growth, establishing wind power as one of the largest sources of new electricity supply for the country,” said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. “This remarkable and accelerating growth is driven by strong demand, favorable economics, and a period of welcome relief from the on-again, off-again, boom-and-bust, cycle of the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind power.”

“But the PTC and tax incentives for other renewable energy sources are now in danger of lapsing at the end of this year—and at the worst moment for the U.S economy,” added Swisher. “The U.S. wind industry calls on Congress and the President to quickly extend the PTC—the only existing U.S. incentive for wind power—in order to sustain this remarkable growth along with the manufacturing jobs, fresh economic opportunities, and reduction of global warming pollution that it provides.”

The U.S. wind power fleet now numbers 16,818 MW and spans 34 states. American wind farms will generate an estimated 48 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of wind energy in 2008, just over 1% of U.S. electricity supply, powering the equivalent of over 4.5 million homes. This wind power also:
  • Helps protect consumers from increases in electricity costs due to volatile fuel prices and supply disruptions: by reducing the use of natural gas and other fuels used for electricity generation, and lowering the pressure on their price, wind can save consumers money, even in regions with low or no wind resources.
  • Reduces global warming emissions: To generate the same amount of electricity using the average U.S. power plant fuel mix would cause over 28 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) to be emitted annually.
  • Conserves precious water resources: Wind farms don’t need water for steam or for cooling, a benefit that is increasingly valuable in arid areas and in times of drought.

Wind power’s strong performance is expected to continue this year, with AWEA’s initial estimates indicating that 2008 could equal 2007 in new wind capacity installed. Developers report that with strong demand for wind power across the country, wind turbines are sold out for the year. However, AWEA projects that with more companies entering the market, more turbines will become available. The pace of growth in 2008 and beyond is expected to largely depend, not on turbine availability, but on the timing and duration of an extension of the federal production tax credit.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Madrid: "Air Trees" for an ecoboulevard

In Madrid the first of three unique buildings has been built: the “Air Tree,” designed to act as a social center and to green the environment.

This first air tree is the result of 16 hemicycles arranged in a circle, covered with a thermal fabric and supported by a lightweight, easily assembled frame, which is identical for the three large “dynamos”. In terms of energy these theatrical scaffoldings are self-sufficient, relying on a system of photovoltaic solar collection. It also produces oxygen like a tree. It completes its social function by being a public and pleasant gathering place creating activity in a suburban site.

The goal of this project is to create an atmosphere that invites and promotes activity in an urban public space that is “sick” due to “bad planning”.

Labels: , , , ,