U.S. Leads World in Wind-Power Growth

April 21, 2008

The United States is on track to breeze past Germany within two years as the world leader in installed capacity to spin the wind into electricity, a new report says.

Globally, wind-power capacity rose 27 percent in 2007 to 94,100 megawatts, according to the report from the Washington D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute.

The U.S. led the charge with a record-breaking 5,244-megawatt increase for a total of 16,818 megawatts—enough to power 4.5 million U.S. homes.

And the potential in the U.S. is far greater, according to Janet Sawin, director of the Worldwatch Institute's energy and climate change program and author of the new report.

"Wind resources in just three U.S. states could, theoretically, meet all of our nation's electricity needs," she said in an email.

Technologically and economically, researchers believe wind could account for 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030.

Global Growth

Wind power is not without its critics.

Earlier this month, Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland banned commercial wind turbines from state-owned land out of concern they would mar the landscape.

A proposed large-scale wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts' Cape Cod has been hobbled in controversy for years. And some environmental groups raise concerns that wind farms pose a risk to birds and bats.

(Read related story: "Plan for World's Largest Wind Farm Generates Controversy" [October 31, 2005].)

Despite the opposition, however, the U.S. is on track to have more wind turbines in the ground than anywhere else in the world.

Continued on Next Page >>




NEWS FEEDS     After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.   After installing a news reader, click on this icon to download National Geographic News's XML/RSS feed.

Get our news delivered directly to your desktop—free.
How to Use XML or RSS

National Geographic Daily News To-Go

Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. No wires or syncing. Download Stitcher free today.
Click here to get 12 months of National Geographic Magazine for $15.