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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wind Energy is Popular

Wind energy is surging in popularity because it spurs economic development and benefits the environment. An organized, vocal minority opposes wind energy development. However, the real world experience of successful wind energy development reaffirms the near universal support for wind energy. In fact, wind energy remains popular in areas of Wisconsin faced with siting challenges.

• A poll of voters in the Evansville Water and Light service area showed that 76% support wind power for the area, with less than 6% in opposition. Similar results were found in the Town of Union, with 72% supporting a wind project in the Town, and just 8% against.1
• A poll of voters in Calumet County overwhelmingly favored building new wind farms in the County. A full 70% of voters supported building new wind farms, including a plurality (45%) of voters living near the proposed projects.2
• In 2008, the U.S. wind industry installed 8,358 MW of new generating capacity, enough to serve over 2 million homes. The nation’s wind power generating capacity grew by 50%, and represents an investment of $17 billion into the economy.3
• The U.S. market for small wind turbines – those with capacities of 100 kilowatts (kW) and less – grew 78% in 2008. U.S. manufacturers sold about half of all small wind turbines installed worldwide last year. U.S. market share amounted to $77 million of the $156 million global total.4
• There are over 120 Gigawatts5 of wind turbines installed worldwide, and since 2005, global wind generation capacity has more than doubled. Currently, 76 countries are using commercial wind energy.6
• The U.S. military uses wind turbines to reduce fuel costs and the need for fuel shipments in dangerous areas.7

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1 “Evansville Area Public Opinion Survey on Wind Power.” April 29, 2008
2 “Wind Farms in Calumet County.” October 18, 2007
3 http://www.awea.org/newsroom/releases/wind_energy_growth2008_27Jan09.html
4 http://awea.org/newsroom/releases/AWEA_Reports_Small_Wind_Market_Growth_052809.html
5 1 Gigawatt = 1 billion watts.
6 http://www.wwindea.org/home/images/stories/worldwindenergyreport2008_s.pdf
7 http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0907/p01s04-usmi.html

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