America's wind industry raced past in July the 50,000 megawatts milestone, a truly substantial accomplishment. And its growth since 2003 has been nearly as fast as Usain Bolt. http://www.awea.org/newsroom/pressreleases/50_GW_milestone.cfm.
Just consider these remarkable facts. From 1981 to 2003, a total of 5,000 megawatts of wind was installed in the USA for an average of less than 250 megawatts installed per year over a 22-year period. Snail-like growth.
But then the Bolt wind growth era began in 2003.
From 2003-2006, wind capacity jumped from 5,000 megawatts to 10,000 and then exploded to 25,000 megawatts by 2008. The US wind industry added 20,000 megawatts in 5 years from 2003 to 2008 or 4,000 megawatts per year.
But the wind boom really has picked up speed since 2008. In the last 4 years, the US has crossed the 50,000 megawatts milestone and likely will end 2012 with more than 55,000 megawatts of wind operating.
In short, wind power will have more than doubled since 2008, adding approximately 30,000 megawatts or 7,500 megawatts per year. Bolt-like growth, indeed, and it took place, while the shale gas boom shattered natural gas and wholesale electricity prices.