Wind energy jobs grew exponentially in 2014

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Wind energy is growing, and along with it, wind jobs. According to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, there were 23,000 jobs added in the wind industry in 2014 — bringing the total number to 73,000.

U.S. wind employment by state in 2014. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: AWEA

A total of 12,700 megawatts (MW) of wind projects under construction at the beginning of 2015, which is growing the wind workforce.

“These results show that extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind power in 2013 was good for business in America,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “We’ve got a mainstream, Made-in-the-USA product that supports jobs in every state and is gaining momentum. With a more predictable policy we can add more jobs and keep this American success story going.”

In 2013, wind capacity deployment decreased 92 percent from 2012 levels, but grew 400 percent from 2013 to 2014. According to AWEA, this was because of “policy uncertainty caused by the ‘brief lapse’ of the PTC at the end of 2012. That lapse resulted in the loss of 30,000 wind industry jobs in America.”

According to AWEA, 20,000 of the current wind jobs are in more than 500 facilities across 43 states, and the other 53,000 are in project development, construction, operations, and other areas of the industry. AWEA found that the industry in total created $12 billion in private investment in 2014, which brings the total to more than $100 billion since 2008.

Texas is also making big moves in its wind development, with 7,500 MW currently under construction in the industry. According to AWEA, in 2014, there was more than $3 billion invested in wind in the state.

“Texas is enjoying a rural economic development boom thanks to wind energy investments in our state,” said Jeff Clark, executive director of the Texas-based Wind Coalition. “Wind energy projects are putting Texans to work, lowering energy prices for consumers, and bringing dramatic increases to local tax bases. Texas policies are succeeding.”

Texas also currently has 17,000 jobs in the wind industry — after adding 9,000 jobs in 2014. The state is followed by Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Michigan in jobs. The wind industry saw a large growth in Iowa, which now supports 6,000 jobs.

Ohio leads in manufacturing facilities, Colorado leads in manufacturing jobs, and Iowa produced the most electricity from wind power — with 28.5 percent of their total output.

“Thanks to performance-based incentives like the PTC, the U.S. leads the world in wind energy production,” AWEA explained. “In 2014, U.S. wind farms produced over 181 billion kWh of wind energy, enough to power the equivalent of 16.7 million American homes.”

For more:
– download the report

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