This article originally appeared in Huffington Post.
As Americans turn from their busy lives to watch President Obama’s final State of the Union address, I’ve been reflecting on the growing momentum in wind energy over the last seven years.
If there’s one thing they need to know it’s this: American wind power has more than tripled in size and costs one-third as much as it did than when the president took office in 2009. U.S. wind energy is truly stronger now than it’s ever been.
By reaching new heights, this American success story is not only helping us build a better world for our children, it’s also helping consumers save money in every corner of the United States.
Working to achieve climate progress and creating a business environment that encourages renewable energy growth have been staples of this administration. So as we watch and listen on Tuesday, all signs point to the president looking to wind energy as one of the biggest, fastest, cheapest ways to cut carbon pollution and build a clean energy future for our nation.
As the president lays out his vision for his final year in office, here are the top five things Americans should know about wind power today.
- With over 70 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity, there’s three times as much wind power in the U.S. as there was in 2008. To put that into context, that’s enough energy to drive 26 million electric cars around the world.
- Wind is also three times cheaper than it was when President Obama took office. Today, it’s 66 percent less expensive than it was just six years ago. This cost-cutting was possible because of technological advancements spurred by American ingenuity and improvements in domestic manufacturing.
- Building U.S. wind farms has built a brand new domestic manufacturing supply chain in the U.S., spurring well-paying jobs in all 50 states. That includes over 500 factories in 43 states building wind turbine parts and supplies. The U.S. Department of Labor recently identified wind turbine technician as the fastest growing occupation in the country, while the Department of Energy’s Wind Vision report says wind could support 380,000 jobs by 2030.
- Wind energy is the biggest, fastest cheapest way for states to cut carbon and comply with the Clean Power Plan (CPP). It already eliminates carbon emissions from the equivalent of 26 million cars, while the Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that wind is consistently one of the lowest cost options for states to reduce carbon pollution. EIA’s analysis noted that wind makes up 57 percent of the optimal energy mix for CPP compliance.
- New customers are helping fuel wind’s growth. Companies and cities alike are recognizing that wind power helps them save money while also achieving their sustainability goals. Google, Amazon and Proctor & Gamble all recently made large wind energy purchases, while cities from San Diego to Washington, D.C. are increasing their share of renewable energy. These new partners also know that affordable, reliable wind energy offers protection from conventional fuel price fluctuations.
As we move into the new year, the U.S. wind industry is primed for success in 2016 and beyond, which is something that should make all Americans proud.