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U.S. small wind turbine market grew 14%


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Driven by consumer concerns over climate change and rising electricity prices, the U.S. small wind turbine market grew 14% and deployed 9.7 megawatts (MW) of new power generating capacity in 2007, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said today in its annual small wind turbine market report. Small wind systems have rated capacities of less than 1 kilowatt (kW) up to 100 kW and are used for a broad range of applications, from charging batteries on sailboats and recreational vehicles to powering individual homes, farms, and small businesses.


“Consumers are eager for clean energy solutions, and a small wind system is one of the most productive ways to generate clean, reliable, fuel-free electricity,” said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. “To fully meet growing customer demand we need policies that make it easier and less costly to invest in small wind systems.”


AWEA and small wind system advocates are calling for a 30% federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Such a credit could lead to an estimated 40%-50% annual growth, similar to the growth in the solar photovoltaic (PV) market following the adoption of a federal ITC for solar in 2005. Currently, there are no federal incentives in place for small wind systems. Several states have incentives for small wind, and, not surprisingly, they are also the states with the largest small wind system markets. Impractical and prohibitive zoning practices, as well as balkanized grid interconnection standards, pose additional barriers to growth.


According to the AWEA small wind turbine report, in 2007:


Over 9,000 small wind turbine units were sold, with total sales value of $42 million;

Total small wind generating capacity in the U.S. is now 55-60 MW;

Small wind systems in the U.S. displace an estimated 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking 10,000 cars off the road;

About 50 companies manufacture or plan to manufacture small wind systems in the U.S.;

The U.S. is the world’s largest small wind turbine market; and

Exports account for about 40% of U.S. small wind system manufacturers’ sales.

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