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Wind Power Development Surging in US

With oil prices on the rise, the U.S. wind energy industry grew at record levels in 2007 and an industry group says it expects similar growth this year. In today's searching for solutions report, Paul Sisco looks at the increasing use and development of wind energy in the United States.

In its annual review the non profit environmental group, Worldwatch Institute, reports that the United States continues to lead the world in new wind power installations.

Randall Swisher, who is the executive director of the American Wind Energy Association says, "2007 was a great year for the renewable energy industries. Actually it was the third record year in a row for the wind industry; Except 2007 was a 'blowout' [fantastic] year with 5244 megawatts of new electrical generating capacity added by the wind industry, which is more than twice as large as the largest prior record established in 2006."

Several new U.S. facilities opened in 2007 and plans for several others were announced.

Last month, the City of Los Angeles broke ground in California for what will become the largest city owned wind plant in the United States.

"It is the start of a new model of clean energy, a model where the city of Los Angeles is no longer satisfied with just buying clean power but takes the lead nationally in producing its own," said Los Angeles, California mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa.

The mayor says one-fifth of the city's energy will come from renewable sources by the year 2010.

The Pine Tree Wind Project is being built on the edge of the Mojave Desert about 160 kilometers North of Los Angeles. When complete, the city expects 80 wind turbines will produce enough electricity to power 56,000 homes.

California was the first US state to produce electricity from the wind, and is second to Texas in total megawatt production.

Today, the American Wind Energy Association says 38 states generate over one percent of the nations electricity with wind and growth in 2008 should match the industry's record last year.