As AWEA prepares to take a holiday break and re-energize for 2010, it's worth looking back on 2009, a year that saw many twists and turns, and stops and starts in the industry, but most of all, signs of long-term vitality, despite short-term obstacles.
A few of the good things that happened:
1. Congress passed the economic recovery package, which included an economic lifeline for the wind industry.
2. Installed U.S. wind capacity continued to grow, despite the poor economy.
3. Wind energy finally got a champion at the U.S. Department of the Interior, which will help offshore wind and projects on public lands in the West.
4. New research is on our side on wind's health impacts (sound) and impacts on property values.
5. Small wind producers finally got equity with big wind on the investment tax credit.
6. Growth in AWEA's annual WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition and other workshops and conferences shows that interest in wind energy is continuing to grow.
A few of the not so good things in 2009:
1. Congress has not passed a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES).
2. U.S. wind component manufacturing is stalled for the moment.
3. Wind energy opponents continue using specious arguments and scare tactics to delay projects.
4. Little progress occurred this year on transmission–a huge issue affecting future growth prospects for wind.
That's certainly not a scientific sample. But it suggests that overall, 2009 was a good year.