U.S. wind power surge continues, but industry says Congress can do more


While wind remains a small fraction of U.S. power, new wind farms accounted for 39 percent of the U.S. power generating capacity added last year, AWEA said.

The trade group used the report’s release to continue pressing for a nationwide renewable electricity standard (RES), a longstanding industry goal that would require many utilities to supply escalating amounts of power from wind and other renewable sources.

“A national RES will provide the long-term certainty that businesses need to invest tens of billions of dollars in new installations and manufacturing facilities which would create hundreds of thousands of American jobs,” AWEA CEO Denise Bode said.

The big climate and energy bill that passed the House last year included an RES. But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) – a co-author of upcoming Senate legislation – has floated a broader “clean” energy standard that would also credit new nuclear power plants and coal plants that capture carbon emissions.

ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva attacked the idea of a renewable standard in a Washington, D.C. speech Wednesday.

“This could prove pretty expensive. Instead, why not just implement clean electricity standards and then let renewable energy, natural gas, clean coal, nuclear power, all compete on the level playing field,” he said.