Friday, May 29, 2009

US Small Wind Turbine Market Grows 78% in 2008

The AWEA comes out with some timely info this morning. Someone send this to T Boone. I hear he is looking for places to invest.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports that the U.S. market for small wind turbines – those with capacities of 100 kilowatts (kW) and less – grew 78% in 2008, with a total of 17.3 megawatts (MW) of new installed capacity, offering new evidence that consumer demand for clean energy options is on the rise.

And the most important point - who made them? We made them. Well, about half of them anyway, but we are talking worldwide production. That is saying something given the competition of cheap foreign labor.

U.S. manufacturers sold about half of all small wind turbines installed worldwide last year. U.S. market share amounted to $77 million of the $156 million global total. (Worldwide, about 38.7 MW of new small wind capacity was installed in 2008.)

Growth in the small wind sector is largely attributable to increased private investment that has allowed manufacturing volumes to increase, particularly for the commercial segment of the market (systems 21-100 kW). The still-largest segment of the market, residential (1-10 kW), was likewise driven by investment and manufacturing economies of scale, but also rising residential electricity prices and a heightened public awareness of the technology and its attributes.

And for the future? Predictions on sales, even in this global recession, are phenomenal. Can you think of another industry at this time, besides bankruptcy law firms and lawyers, that will forecast this sort of growth?

The study included a poll of small wind manufacturers, who project a 30-fold growth in the U.S. small wind market within as little as five years, despite a global recession. Much of this estimated growth will be spurred by the new eight-year 30% federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) passed by Congress in October 2008 and augmented in February 2009.

And if we get a national RPS (or RES) - look out.

Ignore this segment of the economy at your own peril. If and when the credit markets loosen up and investors get a line on some $$ - this is definitely the place to be, big and small wind production both.