Richard L Wottrich, Managing Director, International, IMAP Chicago (Dresner Partners) looks at the future for the alternative energy industry in the US and concludes that we will have to look to our laurels if we are to stay ahead of the global competition … There is a powerful wind emanating out of Washington, foretelling that much of President Obama’s success will depend on the creation of new green jobs in alternative energy and conservation.
President Obama recently appointed Van Jones as a special adviser on green jobs to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, a man with a background in activism, promoting green jobs to lift people out of poverty. Many of these green jobs are assumed to be coming in wind power but what are the prospects for wind power in America? Relative size of wind power production
Wind power in the US reached 29.4 MW of installed capacity in the second quarter of 2009.In 2008, the US surpassed Germany in installed wind power capacity, followed by Spain. (The world leader in percentage of utilized wind power is Denmark at 19 per cent of stationary electricity production.) Including projects installed through the end of 2008, wind power accounted for just 1.26 per cent of US electricity last year. Worldwide average wind power production contributes 1.5 per cent, while wind power project installations are growing in excess of 25 per cent per year in the U.S.
Coal still accounts for 50 per cent of US electricity production and natural gas accounts for 23 per cent. All renewable energy sources combined account for just 2.5 per cent of US electricity production. The sheer scale of energy requirements in America ensures that these relative ratios will change very slowly for years to come.