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Often taking a backseat to its higher-profile cousin solar power, wind power generation enjoyed steady advancement in 2011. With new technologies gaining acceptance, wind farms going operational, and positive future trends predicted this efficient and mature – yet still evolving – industry is worthy of note.
Wind power generation has bucked the trend of the economic downturn and enjoyed continued growth throughout 2011. 7 gigawatts of new generating facilities were completed, bringing the U.S. nationwide total to over 45 gigawatts – the equivalent of 45 heavily polluting coal plants. The Fukushima disaster has reinvigorated Japan’s commitment to sustainable, offshore generation projects. Improved turbine technology has opened thousands of new potential wind farm sites by making slower and less consistent winds viable for cost-effective power generation. All of this and more have lead wind prices to new lows of $33-$65 per megawatt-hour, making it competitive with traditional power generation methods – and the price is still dropping.
With the scrutiny and related financial pressures of Wall Street investors currently focused on major solar company failures, the biggest hurdles faced by turbine manufacturers, utility companies, and wind farm developers are from government committees and regulators. For most projects though, gaining approval is just a matter of time as voters and many factions within government still strongly support the continued progression of renewable energy sources. Companies with innovative ideas and solutions must be sure to have the right connections, and choosing an experienced communications team is often the best bet.
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