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The U.S. wind energy industry installed 5,244 MW in 2007, expanding the nation's total wind power generating capacity by 45% in one year and injecting an investment of more than $9 billion into the economy, according to the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) recently released annual market report.

The new wind projects, which bring the nation's total installed wind power generating capacity to 16,818 MW, account for about 30% of the entire new power-producing capacity added nationally in 2007.

"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," says 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."

AWEA's initial estimates indicate that 2008 could equal 2007 in new wind capacity installed, but that the pace of growth this year and beyond is expected to depend largely on the timing and duration of an extension of the federal PTC.

Although developers report that strong demand for wind power across the country has led to wind turbines being sold out for the year, AWEA projects that with more companies entering the market, more turbines will become available. Investment is flowing into the wind power supply chain, the report notes, with at least fourteen new manufacturing facilities opened or announced in 2007, according to initial AWEA estimates.

To view the report, visit awea.org

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