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The U.S. wind industry has raced past the 20,000 MW installed capacity milestone, achieving in two years what had previously taken more than two decades, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports.

Wind now provides 20,152 MW of electricity generating capacity in the U.S. But a delay in extending the production tax credit (PTC) could place 2009 projects on hold and discourage manufacturing investment, according to AWEA. The PTC is currently set to expire at the end of the year.

"Wind energy installations are well ahead of the curve for contributing 20% of the U.S. electric power supply by 2030 as envisioned by the U.S. Department of Energy," says Randall Swisher, executive director of AWEA. "However, the looming expiration of the federal renewable energy PTC less than four months from now threatens this spectacular progress. The PTC has been a critical factor in wind's very rapid growth as a part of the nation's power portfolio."

While Germany has more generating capacity installed - about 23,000 MW- the U.S. is producing more electricity from wind because of its much stronger winds. AWEA expects over 7,500 MW of new wind capacity to be added this year, expanding the U.S.'s wind energy fleet by 45% and bringing total capacity to 24,300 MW.

SOURCE: American Wind Energy Association

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