Turbine Timeline: 2000s
The U.S. wind industry and AWEA expand exponentially in the 2000s
- AWEA’s WINDPOWER conference brings more than 1,000 attendees to Washington, D.C.
- The first commercial 3 megawatt (MW) wind turbine in the United States is installed in Texas by Vestas.
- Wind industry proactively responds to concerns about impacts on bats. After evidence of higher than anticipated bat fatalities at several wind energy facilities in the Eastern United States, AWEA, NREL, the USFWS, and Bat Conservation International launch the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC) to research impacts and develop mitigation options.
- Energy Policy Act – which includes an extension of PTC through 2007 – passes and is signed by President George W. Bush. The legislation triggers a five-fold increase in U.S. wind capacity across the next two years.
- AWEA develops a “grid code” with utilities and power system reliability authorities, allowing widespread reliable integration of wind turbines onto wholesale power grids nationwide.
- Five wind turbine manufacturing facilities operate in the United States, and domestic content throughout the U.S. industry is approximately 25 percent.
- 10,000 MW milestone reached for total U.S. wind capacity, thanks to the federal PTC, RPS state incentives.
- Department of Interior establishes Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee to make recommendations on rules related to siting wind projects. The Committee includes representatives from industry, environmental NGOs (eNGOs), state wildlife agencies and tribes.
- The first 105-meter (345-foot) wind tower is installed in the United States by Enel Green Power North America. The new technology, along with the increased availability of large rotors, contributes to a 90 percent reduction in the cost of wind energy since 1980.
- AWEA’s WINDPOWER conference and exhibition brings 7,000 attendees to Los Angeles.
- DOE publishes the comprehensive technical report, 20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy’s Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply, under the administration of President Bush. With contributions from AWEA, the report concludes that it is feasible for 20 percent of all U.S. electricity to be supplied by wind by 2030.
- AWEA moves into its current LEED Gold offices at 1501 M Street NW, in the heart of Washington, D.C.
- AWEA, member companies and environmental allies launch the American Wind Wildlife Institute. AWEA and the wind industry continue proactive efforts to avoid, minimize and mitigate wildlife impacts by establishing a partnership with the conservation community.
- The United States reaches 20,000 MW in wind capacity nationwide, with the average turbine size at 1.66 MW. The country regains the world lead on wind energy by the end of the year, surpassing long-time leader Germany. The United States boasts over 44 new, announced or expanded wind turbine manufacturing facilities.
- AWEA advocacy helps get the investment tax credit for small wind systems enacted. This provision allows a tax credit for up to 30 percent of the cost of a small wind system for on-site use.
- AWEA welcomes new CEO Denise Bode at its biggest WINDPOWER conference of 23,000 attendees in Chicago. The conference is the main meeting place for the wind industry in the United States, with critical talks from international industry experts, a massive exhibition of wind products, and important networking opportunities with wind professionals. AWEA members ranks rise to nearly 2,500.
- The Obama administration increases funding for renewable energy development. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 extends the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and investment Tax Credit (ITC) for wind energy through 2012. The financial crisis slashes profits and investors’ ability to use tax credits. To address this, ARRA also creates a new reimbursement program (Section 1603) that allows wind project developers to receive a refund in lieu of the tax credits. The change makes the wind industry a bright spot in the midst of the recession.
- The United States reaches 40,280 MW of installed wind capacity. Having doubled across the preceding five years, domestic content reaches 50 percent – which means half the value of all operating wind power equipment is made in the USA. However, the United States temporarily loses the lead as the world’s biggest wind energy provider as China tops out at 41,800 MW.
- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) passes Order 1000, which improves how transmission is planned and paid for. This ruling helps expand the U.S. transmission system in a way that supports the wind energy industry. Its passage is thanks in part to AWEA’s active role in the rule-making process.
- RPS policies reach 29 states and the District of Columbia. By the end of this year, another eight states set goals to obtain more energy from renewable sources.
- Wind power reaches 60,000 MW of cumulative wind capacity in the United States, equivalent to powering nearly 15 million homes. Wind becomes the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity for the first time, accounting for 42 percent.
- The United States has more than 550 manufacturing facilities, producing more than two thirds of the materials for wind turbines domestically. Because of this robust growth, the wind industry employs a record 75,000 Americans.
- The USFWS finalizes voluntary Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines largely based on the consensus recommendations of the industry, eNGO, and state wildlife officials who participated in the Wind Turbine Guidelines Federal Advisory Committee. By following the guidelines, the wind industry agrees to be held to a higher standard for wildlife protection than any other energy industry, including going beyond requirements in federal law.
Wind Today: America’s Fastest-Growing Energy Resource
The visionaries who created AWEA saw wind power as a technology that could play an increasingly significant role in meeting America’s electrical power needs – and it has. Wind is a homegrown, renewable energy source that's a leading solution to climate change and water issues. The technology is now among the most cost-competitive, and innovations are likely to bring the cost of wind energy down even more. American wind energy pioneers, AWEA, and its member companies have created one of the most exciting energy options in existence.