Domestic wind industry gusts in 2011
The DOE recently reported significant growth in the U.S. wind energy market in 2011. According to its 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, the U.S. remains one of the world’s largest and fastest growing wind markets. Wind power represented 32% of all new electric capacity additions last year, accounting for $14 billion in new investment. What’s more, the DOE found that nearly 70% of equipment installed at U.S. wind farms last year was from domestic manufacturers, doubling from 35% in 2005. Domestic wind power capacity reached 47,000 MW by the end of 2011 and has since grown to 50,000 MW, enough electricity to power 13 million homes annually. However, 2013 may see a dramatic slowing of domestic wind energy deployment because of the possible expiration of federal renewable energy tax incentives, including the Production Tax Credit and the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit.
Electric vehicle battery costs falling
In 2009, the U.S. had just two factories manufacturing advanced vehicle batteries for advanced technology vehicles such as electric cars and produced less than 2% of the world’s advanced batteries. By 2015, the U.S. will be able to produce enough batteries and components to support 500,000 plug-in and hybrid vehicles and will have the capacity to make 40% of the world’s advanced batteries. The increase comes in large part from measures in The Recovery Act, which included $2.4 billion for battery and electric drive component manufacturing and infrastructure. So says the report, U.S. DOE Vehicle Technologies Program; Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future. It also says because of these investments, battery costs are expected to drop by half between 2009 and 2013.
Renewable energy to grow during next five years
Global renewable power generation is expected to continue growing rapidly over the next five years, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. The Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012 says that despite economic uncertainties, global power generation from hydropower, solar, wind, and other renewable sources should rise more than 40% to almost 6,400 TW-hr by 2017. The study examines 15 key markets for renewable energy, representing roughly 80% of renewable generation. Of the 710 GW of new global renewable electricity capacity expected, China accounts for almost 40%, with the U.S., India, Germany, and Brazil also contributing to growth. Hydropower is expected to have the largest increase in generation, followed by onshore wind, bioenergy, and solar PV.