By Barbara Kessler

The world’s capacity to generate windcommunityenergy.jpgpower from the wind blew past expectations in 2007, rising by 27 percent around the globe, according to a Worldwatch Institute report on wind power released today.

A big jump in wind capacity in China, which got into wind power only about three years ago, was labeled the biggest surprise among the findings. But in the United States, wind installations also rose noticeably, coming in second only to natural gas as a new source of power and adding 5,244 megawatts of wind capacity — enough to power 4.5 million homes, according to the report authored by Janet Sawin, a Worldwatch senior researcher.

This “record-breaking” increase means the United States is now second only to Germany in total wind capacity France, Italy Portugal and the United Kingdom also saw big gains; wind capacity rose in the European Union by 18 percent.

The Worldwatch report summary urged America to bolster the burgeoning wind industry by pushing Congress to pass the production tax credit for clean energy.

The Senate voted earlier this month to extend that credit and another clean energy investment credit (part of the Cantwell-Ensign Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act (S.2821). The House passed its own clean energy stimulus provisions, voting to extend those same tax credits, in February. But the House bill ordered that the credits be funded by the repeal of oil industry tax breaks, which the Senate largely opposes.

Now the new Senate version (which passed 88-8) will be sent to the House for consideration; and the two bodies will have to hammer away at something that works for both houses of Congress.
Talk about a windy proposition!

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