US wind energy output hits record


US wind energy output hits record

Wind energy in the US generated a record 191 megawatt-hours of electricity last year, enough for 17.5 million homes, an industry group says.

The American Wind Energy Association said wind produced 4.7 per cent of the nation's electricity in 2015. Coal generated 33 per cent and natural gas slightly less than that, the association said.
The association released the statistics at a Vestas Wind Systems turbine plant in Brighton, Colorado, near Denver.
Demand for wind energy is also driving up employment. The industry employed the equivalent of 88,000 full-time workers last year, up 20 per cent in a year, the report said.
"We need wind technicians to keep these machines running smoothly," Tom Kiernan, CEO of the association, said at a news conference.
Chris Brown, president of Vestas America, said it can be difficult to find qualified workers.
Starting pay for wind technicians is about $US25 an hour, said Auston Van Slyke, wind energy technology director for Ecotech Institute in Aurora, a private school that trains workers for the renewable energy industry.
Texas remains No.1 for wind energy while Iowa is second. Iowa generated more than 30 per cent of its electricity from wind last year, a record for any state, the report said.
The group said tax breaks extended by congress last year will help stabilise the industry.
Xcel Energy announced on Tuesday it plans to build Colorado's largest wind farm in the eastern part of the state, with enough turbines to generate 600 megawatts of electricity.
Originally published as US wind energy output hits record
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