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Interview: Wind Powers 15.5 Million U.S. Homes

Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, the national trade association for the U.S. wind industry, "participated in a question-and-answer session on wind industry trends with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ clean energy initiative ."  

"The group represents more than 1,000 members, including project developers, parts manufacturers, utilities, financiers, and researchers. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing American industries."  

"From 2009 to 2013, an average of $15 billion a year in private investment more than doubled new U.S. wind capacity, and the industry is on track to deliver 20 percent of the electricity in the United States by 2030."  

Says Kiernan: "The outlook is strong. It took 25 years for the wind energy industry to reach the 10-gigawatt (GW) milestone in 2006. Yet within the next two years the industry was able to double U.S. generating capacity, and then double again in the following two years. We are now at 62 GW, which is approaching 5 percent of the electric power in the entire United States."  

"That does not mean that growth is always steady, as the short-term tax credit extensions lead to unwelcome volatility from year to year."  

"The U.S. Department of Energy has a new 'Wind Vision' report out for peer review that shows with stable policy, wind can grow to 20 percent of our electricity by 2030, and to 35 percent by 2050—at which point wind could be the largest source of electric power in the country. Wind power is also among the biggest, fastest, cheapest ways to reduce carbon emissions, and for many states will be an important part of affordably meeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s new standards for cleaner electric power plants."

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