The wind industry now employs more people than coal mining in the United States,” reports Todd Woody.

Jerome a Paris notes another portentous development:

For the fourth consecutive year, the US set records in 2008 for the construction of new wind farms, with more than 8,300MW installed in the year, making the country the leader for both yearly installations and, for the first time in many years, overall installed capacity (nudging out Germany which has long been the world leader).

(Despite that, he thinks 2009 will be a rough year for wind, thanks to the late renewal of the PTC and the credit crisis. He recommends a few ways the feds could support wind over the speed bump and help its long-term growth, namely stable, predictable federal rules, preferably a feed-in tariff.)

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

And finally, in Salon, Jeff Biggers writes about the battle over Coal River Mountain — the cosmically evil Massey mining subsidiary that wants to blow the mountain up to get at coal vs. the scrappy grassroots coalition that wants to build a wind farm instead. Could this be another turning point in the making?

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.