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State of the Union is right: U.S. is #1 in wind energy

The reason the U.S. leads the world is due to the productivity of our turbines (AWEA graphic).
State of the Union is right: U.S. is #1 in wind energy
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In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama noted that “America is number one in wind power.” Indeed, the U.S. generates more energy from wind than any other country, leading China, Spain, and Germany.

That is because U.S. turbines are nearly twice as productive as Chinese turbines on average. This is due to technological innovation and productivity that has been encouraged by a policy incentive – the renewable energy Production Tax Credit – that only rewards production. This innovation includes:

  • Building taller towers and longer blades for more productive turbines
  • Being smart about siting turbines in wind-rich areas in ways that will capture the most wind
  • Building high-quality wind turbines with minimal downtime

The U.S. continues to be clearly ahead of China and other countries. In 2014, the productivity of Chinese turbines was actually down, which almost entirely offset the gains from their newly installed capacity. In addition, around 15 percent of China’s wind turbines are not even connected to the grid, significantly dragging down their wind production numbers, while all U.S. wind turbines are connected and producing power. Here are the numbers:

The U.S. generated 148,047 Gigawatt-hours (GWh)  of wind energy from January to October in 2014, while China generated only 122,300 GWh. China is not closing the gap with the ratio of wind generated in China to wind generated in U.S. staying almost exactly the same (81.8 percent in 2013, compared to 82.6 percent in January to October in 2014). Data for the last two months of 2014 has not yet been released by either the U.S. or China.

Utility-scale wind was invented in America, and we do it best. By highlighting the fact that U.S. is number one in wind energy in his State of the Union address, President Obama honored the American workers that have helped wind energy make this historic rise.

The White House posted this on their Twitter account during the State of the Union.

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Shauna Theel is the Deputy Director of Digital Media at the American Wind Energy Association. She oversees AWEA's digital media content and strategy, ensuring that the message of clean, affordable, and American wind power is heard loud and clear across media platforms. Prior to joining AWEA, she worked at the watchdog group Media Matters for America for four years. As the Climate and Energy Program Director at Media Matters, she oversaw the group's rapid response communications, long-term research analyses, and outreach efforts related to energy and environmental policy. In this role, she served as the public face of the team, giving interviews to press outlets, and giving presentations everywhere from Capitol Hill to the National Press Club. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Political Science.

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