Wind Adds Jobs Over 9 Times Faster than the Overall Economy

20 Apr 2017

American wind power added jobs over 9 times faster than the overall economy amid robust growth for another year, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), which released its 2016 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report at the Minnesota State Capitol. Installing over 8,000 megawatts (MW) of new wind power for a second straight year, the U.S. industry invested over $14 billion in 2016 in new wind farms built in rural America, and now supports a record-high 102,500 jobs.

“Thanks to another year of strong, steady growth, wind increasingly powers the U.S. economy, adding nearly 15,000 jobs just last year and bringing total wind industry employment to over 102,000 jobs across all 50 states,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, speaking in St. Paul. “By building new wind farms we are investing in rural and Rust Belt America. And last year, wind energy became America’s number one source of renewable generating capacity, further advancing U.S. energy security.”

Minnesota Republican Representative Tom Emmer addressed a letter of support for this year’s release to AWEA commenting on wind energy’s success. In the letter, Rep. Emmer said: 

“Wind power is a critical component of an all-of-the-above energy approach focused on reducing consumer costs, furthering advances in renewable technologies, and moving our country closer to total energy independence. I will continue to support policies that further a comprehensive approach to improve our country’s energy outlook and ensure that American wind production remains a key component of that strategy.”

With total U.S. wind capacity at 82,143 MW at the start of the year, there’s now enough wind to power 24 million typical American homes. And with utilities and major American brands like General Motors, 3M, and Target continuing to buy large amounts of wind power through long-term contracts that lock in stable, low energy prices, demand keeps expanding for clean, low-cost wind energy.

“Bigger, better technology enables new wind turbines to generate 50 percent more electricity than those built in 2009, and at 66 percent lower cost,” Kiernan continued. “With stable policy in place, we’re on the path to reliably supply 10 percent of U.S. electricity by 2020.”

Continuing to expand wind energy will widely benefit the U.S. economy, according to recent analysis. By the end of President Trump’s current four-year term, American wind power will support over 248,000 wind-related jobs, including those in communities surrounding wind farms and factories, according to a recently released analysis by Navigant Consulting. From now through 2020, wind power will create $85 billion in economic activity, Navigant found. The results of that analysis also indicate that over its lifetime, a single modern wind turbine supports 44 years of full-time employment. 

American Wind Energy Association |