In 2012, wind energy became the fastest-growing source of new electricity generation in the U.S., providing 42 percent of new generation capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
Wind power is becoming so cheap and so commonplace that it appears poised to help blow up the country's nuclear power sector, according to a recent Bloomberg article (which you really should read in full). Other highlights from the piece:
- $25 billion was spent on wind energy in the U.S. in 2012.
- The $25 billion outlay increased nationwide wind generating capacity by 13,124 megawatts -- up 28 percent from 2011.
- That spending spree was fueled in large part by a mad scramble to qualify for federal tax credits that were set to expire at the end of last year (but were ultimately renewed by Congress).
- Wind-generated electricity met about 3.4 percent of of American demand in 2012, a figure that's expected to reach 4.2 percent next year.
- $120 billion spent on wind turbines since 2003 has increased wind power supplies 1,000 percent and created as much new electricity generation as could be provided by 14 new nuclear power plants.
In addition to federal tax credits, state-level renewable energy requirements are helping to spur wind's growth, and the nuclear industry thinks that's unfair: