American Clean Power just released its market report for the fourth quarter of 2020 and it’s good news:
The U.S. wind industry installed 10,593 MW of new wind power capacity in the fourth quarter of 2020, the highest quarter on record. In fact, more wind was installed at the end of 2020, than any other year except 2012.
This fourth quarter growth dwarfed the installation of the previous three quarters which only totaled 6,309 MW combined. The new installation capacity of 2020, however, surpassed previous records in the industry with the new total capacity addition of 16,913 MW.
The report details that, while 54 new wind projects were installed across 20 states in the fourth quarter, Texas, Iowa, Wyoming, Illinois and Missouri led the way in installations for the year.
The renewable energy sector has experienced tremendous growth in the last decade as technology has improved, becoming more efficient and cost-effective. But many of these technologies still have a long way to go in becoming reliable energy sources for the American people. At the moment, wind energy only accounts for 7 percent of total U.S. electricity generation. While adding capacity is encouraging both for energy job opportunities and continuing to protect our environment, we need to be realistic about the near future for renewable energy sources like wind power.
Renewable energy shows promise but pushing it beyond its current capabilities is both dangerous to American energy security and will raise energy costs for Americans across the country. Renewable energy development should be encouraged, particularly in the private sector, but it should not be given such support as to cripple our current reliable and affordable energy sources such as natural gas and nuclear power.
Innovation had led to improvements in these sectors as well, with fracking giving the U.S. unforeseen energy security and providing millions of jobs, and nuclear power providing both carbon neutral and affordable energy. Carbon capture and storage has even reduced emissions from natural gas by capturing the carbon emitted and storing it safely. Innovators are working to improve this technology and broaden its role to curtail our emissions across the board, not just from energy production.
This new report about added wind power capacity is good news, but even better news will come by encouraging all forms of clean energy, not just renewables, to flourish.