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Wind energy powers ahead in 2012

Wind energy development is on the rise in the U.S. again, after tough times in 2010, according to a new report by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

The U.S. saw a 31 percent increase in production last year over 2010, the GWEC report said. The biggest gains came in California and Illinois. Texas, Iowa, and Calfornia lead the nation in wind power, with Illinois moving into the fourth spot last year. Ohio was the fastest growing wind power state last year.

For 2012, some 8,300MW are now under construction in the U.S., setting up what should be a strong year, says the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

“American wind energy’s long-term fundamentals are strong," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode in a statement.

"We have installed more than a third of all new American electric generation in recent years and are well on our way to providing 20% of America’s electricity by 2030.

"Our 2011 installations alone provide enough electricity to power almost two million American homes," said Bode.

On a global basis, wind energy continued as the leading renewable energy technology in 2011, said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.

 “2011 was a tough year, as will be 2012, but the long term fundamentals of the industry remain very sound," Sawyer said.

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