Wind energy turbines spin to a 2012 record
Wind energy blew to new heights in 2012.
The U.S wind industry installed a record 13,124 megawatts worth of wind turbines during 2012 — enough to support nearly 3.3 million homes, including 496 megawatts in Colorado, the American Wind Energy Association said Wednesday.
The new megawatts represented about $25 billion in private investment, the group said.
Colorado ranked 10th in the nation for most megawatts installed, according to the Washington, D.C.-based group, which on Wednesday released its 2012 statistics on the wind industry. One megawatt of wind power can support the electricity demands of about 250 homes.
Across the U.S., wind turbines were generating 60,007 megawatts of energy at the end of the year, including 2,301 megawatts worth of turbines located in Colorado, the group said.
Wind-farm developers and turbine manufacturers rushed throughout the year to ensure wind farms were operational before the end of the year, when the industry’s Production Tax Credit (PTC) was scheduled to expire. Congress extended the credit on Jan. 1, as part of the “fiscal cliff package,” the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
Under the extension, wind farms are eligible if they start construction during 2013 and become operational in 2014. The credit amounts to $22 per megawatt produced during the first 10 years of a qualifying wind farm’s existence.
The previous record year for wind installations was 2010, when about 10,000 megawatts of wind power was installed, AWEA said.
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