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U.S. Sets Goal For Wind Power
Associated Press, June 20, 1999

The United States would be able to produce 5 percent of the nation's energy from wind by the year 2020 under a new Energy Department plan, an agency official said Saturday. “We're going to try to double US wind energy capacity by 2005 and then double it again by 2010,'' said an Energy Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “By 2020 it would be 5 percent.'' The level at 2010 would be 10,000 megawatts on-line, enough electricity to fulfill the annual needs of 3 million households, the official said.

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson will unveil the so-called Wind Powering America initiative Monday at the annual meeting of the American Wind Energy Association in Burlington, Vt. He also plans to announce $1.2 million in grants for wind turbine-testing projects in 10 states, but the states' identities weren't released. “We think that wind technology has the most potential of any renewable energy technology right now,'' Richardson told The New York Times in a story for Sunday editions. Other leading renewable contenders are electricity from the sun or from sources like crop wastes. The Times reported that the federal government would try to reach 5 percent of its energy from wind by 2010, a decade ahead of the nation at large.

Energy officials said the department will invest money in research and development, encourage codes that are conducive to wind energy and encourage vocational schools to provide training in the necessary technology. The DOE official said the department will work to establish new sources of income for farmers, rural landowners and American Indians by involving them in wind power projects. The cost of wind power has decreased dramatically in the last two decades, according to DOE estimates. In 1980, capturing the wind as an energy source cost about 40 cents per kilowatt-hour, but now it costs about a nickel, the department official said.