WASHINGTON, April 29 (UPI) -- With the industry reporting one of its strongest performances on record, the American Wind Energy Association said it expects a boom over the next five years.
A quarterly report from the AWEA said more than 500 megawatts of new wind energy were added to the U.S. grid during the first quarter and construction started on another 2,000 MW.
Tom Kiernan, the group's CEO, said in a statement the tide is turning in favor of a widespread commercial wind energy sector.
"As the wind business builds momentum, we're prepared to double wind's contribution to America's electricity supply in the next five years," he said.
An early April report from the International Energy Agency finds electricity produced by wind across the 34 members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation, which includes the United States, increased at its highest rate ever recorded.
The majority of the new wind-generated electricity, however, occurred in European members of the OECD, where member states are obligated to use renewables to meet 20 percent of their energy needs by the end of the decade.
In contrast, new electricity generated from solar power saw its largest growth rate in the Americas, the IEA found.
With the U.S. oil boom is fading, states are taking the initiative on diversifying their economies, the U.S. wind energy group said. While Texas is the No. 1 oil producer in the nation, for example, its manufacturing sector is among the largest in the country and the state is a leader in terms of renewable energy developments.
According to the quarter AWEA report, Texas is the national leader for wind energy, accounting for more than 50 percent of the new sector construction during the first quarter. Oklahoma, meanwhile, leads the nation in terms of installed wind energy capacity.
With the labor force a bright spot in the U.S. economy, meanwhile, the quarterly report finds the industry is supporting 20 percent more jobs than it did two years ago.