According to a recent study by Emerging Energy Research, by 2015 the wind power market in the United States is expected to grow to 49,000MW (megawatts) from last year’s 11,000MW. The United States is expected to have the largest wind market, with more than half of the market growth (53 percent) between now and 2015 expected to be in California, Colorado, New York, Minnesota, and Washington.
Consumer support for renewable energy sources is extremely high, according to a survey released earlier this year by Pike Research, a cleantech market intelligence firm. Three-quarters of those surveyed have a “very favorable” or “favorable” view of wind energy, second only to solar energy. Only five percent had an unfavorable view. There was scant correlation across wealth and higher education levels in favorable impressions of wind power.
Wind power has a high awareness, the survey said. Only six percent said they were unfamiliar with the concept.
Wind turbines capture wind power to generate electricity. Wind power proponents cite that it does not produce air, soil or water pollution. Critics argue that wind farms require large tracts of land or along coastlines to capture the most wind movement.
Clean Edge tracks the growth of renewable energy markets and looks at five trends that will shape future investment in alternative energies. Its 10th annual report released last March found steady growth over the past decade for wind, solar and biofuels, with wind and solar averaging 30 and 40 percent growth, respectively, since the first report in 2000. The combined global revenue for solar, wind and biofuels grew 35.2 percent in 2010, up to $188.1 billion from $139.1 billion in 2009.
Wind power (the capital cost of new installation) is projected to expand from $60.5 billion in 2010 to $122.9 billion in 2020. But the report also found: “Last year's global wind power installations declined slightly to 35.2 gigawatts (GW), down from a record 37.5 GW the prior year. China, the global leader in new installations for the third year in a row, continued to see strong growth with total new installations of more than 16 GW, an increase of 27 percent. The U.S., the world's second-largest market, declined after record growth in 2009, adding only half as much capacity as the prior year with just 5 GW installed in 2010.”
Among the factors currently impacting wind power’s growth are the stalled economy and the lower cost of electricity and natural gas.