The US Department of Energy (DOE) released the 2007 edition of its annual report on U.S. wind power installation, cost and performance trends, which provides a comprehensive overview of developments in the rapidly evolving U.S. wind power market.

Notably, the report finds that U.S. wind power capacity increased by 46 percent in 2007, with $9 billion invested in U.S. wind plants in 2007 alone, making the United States the fastest-growing wind power market in the world for the third straight year.

The report also showed that wind is on a path to becoming a significant contributor to the U.S. power mix. Wind projects accounted for 35 percent of all new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2007, and transmission facilities capable of generating a total of more than 200 GW of wind power are in the early stages of development throughout the nation.

“As we work to implement President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative by increasing the use of domestic, clean and affordable renewable energy, we are eager to continue the trend of increasing the use of wind power at unprecedented rates,” said Alexander -Karsner, DOE assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “Following on the heels of a detailed analysis by DOE and its partners of the technical and economic feasibility of using wind to generate 20 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, this record-shattering year of wind additions shows that wind power is already one of the most important, emission-free sources of energy being deployed to address climate change and improve our energy security.”

As part of President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative, clean, secure and sustainable wind energy has the potential to play an increasingly important role in the Bush Administration’s long-term energy strategy to make investments to fundamentally change the way we power U.S. homes and businesses and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions growth by 2025.

First issued last year, the report analyzes developments in the wind market, including trends in wind installations, turbine size, turbine prices, installed project costs, project performance, wind power prices, and cost comparisons between wind power and conventional generation. It also describes developer consolidation trends, current ownership and financing structures, and trends among major wind power purchasers. By consolidating these data in a single document, DOE hopes to provide a valuable resource to industry participants, energy regulators, and state and local policy-makers. The report has become a benchmark by which the wind industry judges its progress, and by which regulators and policy-makers evaluate the merits of wind power.

The second edition released adds several new sections that highlight the growing importance of wind power to the nation’s power mix and economy. Specifically, this edition tracks significant increases in the contribution of wind power to new capacity additions in the electric sector, the amount of wind power in utility systems, the size of wind projects, and the quantity of wind power capacity in various interconnection queues across the country. It also underscores the importance of wind power to the nation’s economy, by presenting data on the growing number of investments in wind turbine manufacturing capacity in the United States.