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In its first quarter market report, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) found that the U.S. wind energy industry is on track to install over 3,000 megawatts MW of wind power generating capacity nationwide this year.

Texas could account for about two thirds of the new installations, AWEA says. Over 100 MW have newly come online in the U.S. so far this year, and over 1,000 more are under construction in Texas alone.

"Clean, cost-effective, inexhaustible and readily available, wind power is an essential element of the solution to both climate change and America's increasing demand for electricity," says Randall Swisher, AWEA executive director. "Texas recognized this business opportunity and successfully spurred wind power development with a renewables portfolio standard (RPS) and other forward-looking policies."

A new report launched by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), meanwhile, predicts that despite temporary supply chain difficulties, international wind markets are set to continue their spectacular growth. In 2006, total installed capacity increased by 25% globally, generating some $23 billion worth of new generating equipment and bringing global wind power capacity up to more than 74 GW.

"Despite the strong growth we have witnessed in the past, we estimate that the biggest developments are still ahead," says Angelika Pullen, GWEC's policy and communications director, when presenting the report at the recent European Wind Energy Conference in Milan. "Until the end of the current decade, the cumulative capacity of wind energy installations is predicted to reach 149.5 GW, more than double the installed capacity at the end of 2006."

The North American market is expected to continue to be the second largest regional market in terms of total installed capacity with an average annual growth rate of 24.6%. From 9.8 GW installed at the end of 2006, GWEC estimates the market will reach 31.6 GW by the end of 2010. The U.S. market will be the most important national market in the world during the period 2007-2010, with a predicted average installation of 3.5 GW per year.

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