Global wind up 31% in 2009; U.S., China in footrace to be #1

There is good news today in the just-released global wind energy numbers: the world’s wind energy capacity grew by 31% in 2009, despite the global recession, and the United States remains the global leader in total wind installed, with more than 35,000 MW.

But the numbers are also a warning to the United States that it needs a more aggressive policy if it is going to stay in the race with China for wind energy and particularly for wind manufacturing. For 2009, China installed about 13,000 MW, compared with the U.S. total of just under 10,000 MW. While U.S. lost some manufacturing jobs last year because of a fall off in orders, China's wind manufacturing sector was booming, especially since most of its wind turbines are domestically produced.

“China is hard on our heels,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “If this isn’t the ‘case-closed’ evidence that America must have stable renewable energy policy and hard targets in order to create jobs and revitalize our economy, I don’t know what is. China gets it, 37 other nations get it, and we still don’t. It is time to act now on a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) so that America can immediately create manufacturing jobs and be the world wind power leader. The economy can’t wait, job creation can’t wait, and America can’t wait.”

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