So far 2017 has been a great year for wind power with over 900 utility scale turbines installed in the first quarter of the year. These new turbines are capable of producing nearly 2000 megawatts making Q1 of 2017 the strongest quarter for wind energy production capacity in nearly a decade. Wind energy now accounts for nearly 6% of the United States total generating capacity. This figure will rise in the near future when near term pipeline projects capable of producing nearly 21,000 megawatts come online.

wind turbine rappel

The vast and oil rich state of Texas continues to lead the market in wind energy having installed turbines capable of producing over 700 megawatts bringing its total installed capacity to over 21,000 megawatts. The rapid growth in this sector can be largely attributed to developers rushing to take advantage of a last minute extension to a federal production tax credit. Construction of new wind energy projects is expected to continue until the production tax credit expires in 2020.

This increase in wind energy brings benefits beyond just clean energy. According to Tom Kiernan who is the CEO of the American Wind Energy Association this boom in wind capacity will bring with it a rise in employment. Mr Kiernan made a statement detailing the effects which this growth will have upon the economy: “Each modern wind turbine supports 44 years of full-time employment over its lifespan, so the turbines we installed in just these three month represents nearly 40,000 job years for American workers.” He further added that the growth this quarter is a dramatic increase from last year: “We switched on more megawatts in the first quarter (of 2017) than in the first three quarters of last year combined.”