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Wind installations drop 71% in the first half -- and the forecast past 2010 looks dreary

July 27, 2010 |  3:20 pm

“The U.S. wind industry is in distress,” a top renewable energy advocate said Tuesday, and the situation appears as though it could get worse.

Denise Bode, chief executive of the American Wind Energy Assn., said that without a national renewable energy standard, investment and interest in wind projects past 2010 would be headed for a free fall.

Despite more than 5.5 gigawatts under construction, the number of installations this year will still end up 25% to 45% below 2009 levels, according to a new report from the group. And beyond that, there’s a yawning hole in the queue for planned projects.

The first half of the year saw just 1,239 new megawatts come online, a 57% plunge from the same period in 2008 and a 71% drop from last year. Only two new manufacturing plants were built, compared to seven in 2008 and five in 2009.

Even with 2009’s record-breaking year-end total of more than 10,000 megawatts, the U.S. is trailing Europe and China, Bode said. The wild swings in installations also lead to layoffs and distrust of the industry.

Wind

-- Tiffany Hsu

Graphic: U.S. wind industry installations. Credit: AWEA

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