Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Wind Power Gains Popularity as Technology Gets Cheaper

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Wind Power Gains Popularity as Technology Gets Cheaper

Article excerpt

Eight states, including Iowa, Minnesota, Texas and Vermont have proposed or passed standards for utilities that require or encourage power companies to include renewable power as a part of their overall mix of energy sources.

WASHINGTON (ANS)--Headed into the next century, the wind is at the back of the wind power industry, which has recorded a record-breaking amount of new generating capacity in the last 18 months, industry sources say.

From mid-1998 through the end of 1999, some 925 megawatts of wind-generating capacity were installed in this country, more than doubling the 442 megawatts brought on line in 1985, the previous record year, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Across the globe, 3,600 megawatts of wind capacity were added, also the largest addition in a single year, bringing worldwide generating capacity to 13,400 megawatts.

Embraced by many as a clean and renewable source of energy, wind power nevertheless represents less than one-quarter of I percent of electric capacity in the world.

Trade association officials attributed wind's banner year in the United States to a production tax credit that expired last summer, deregulation in the electric industry and the growing cost-effectiveness of the technology.

"For a long time, utilities didn't know what their business was going to be," said Randall Swisher, executive director of the association. "Once the direction became clear, competition became a boost for our technology. …

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