June 15, 2009

More jobs in wind than coal?

The wind industry now employs more people than coal mining in the United States.

It surprised me, but according to a recent report from the American Wind Energy Association, wind industry jobs jumped to 85,000 in 2008, a 70% increase from the previous year. In contrast, the coal industry employs about 81,000 workers (2007 DOE report).

The big spike in wind jobs was a result of a record-setting 50% increase in installed wind capacity, with 8,358 megawatts coming online in 2008 (enough to power some 2 million homes). That's a third of the nation's total 25,170 megawatts of wind power generation. Wind farms generating more than 4,000 megawatts of electricity were completed in the last three months of 2008 alone.