• AWEA’s WINDPOWER conference brings more than 1,000 attendees to Washington, D.C.


  • Vestas installs the first commercial 3 megawatt (MW) wind turbine in the U.S.

  • The wind industry proactively responds to concerns about impacts on bats. After evidence of higher than anticipated bat impacts at several wind energy facilities in the Eastern United States, AWEA, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Bat Conservation International launch the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (BWEC) to research impacts and develop mitigation options.


  • The Energy Policy Act – which includes an extension of PTC through 2007 – passes and is signed by President George W. Bush. The legislation triggers a five-fold increase in U.S. wind capacity across the next two years.

  • AWEA develops a “grid code” with utilities and power system reliability authorities, allowing widespread reliable integration of wind turbines onto wholesale power grids nationwide.

  • Five wind turbine factories operate in the United States, and domestic content throughout the U.S. industry begins growing.


  • The Department of Interior establishes Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee to make recommendations on rules related to siting wind projects. The Committee includes representatives from industry, environmental NGOs, state wildlife agencies and tribes.

  • The first 105-meter (345-foot) wind tower is installed in the United States by Enel Green Power North America. The new technology, along with the increased availability of large rotors, contributes to a 90 percent reduction in the cost of wind energy since 1980.


  • DOE publishes the comprehensive technical report, 20 percent Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy’s Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply, under the administration of President Bush.

  • AWEA moves into its current LEED Gold offices at 1501 M Street NW, in the heart of Washington, D.C.

  • AWEA, member companies and environmental allies launch the American Wind Wildlife Institute. AWEA and the U.S. wind industry continue proactive efforts to avoid, minimize and mitigate wildlife impacts by establishing a partnership with the conservation community.


  • AWEA welcomes new CEO Denise Bode at its biggest WINDPOWER conference of 23,000 attendees in Chicago. The conference is the main meeting place for the wind industry in the United States, with critical talks from international industry experts, a massive exhibition of wind products, and important networking opportunities with wind professionals.


  • The United States reaches 40,280 MW of installed wind capacity. Having doubled across the preceding five years, domestic content reaches 50 percent – which means half the value of all operating wind power equipment is made in the U.S.


  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) passes Order 1000, which improves how transmission is planned and paid for. This ruling helps expand the U.S. transmission system in a way that supports the wind energy industry. Its passage is thanks in part to AWEA’s active role in the rule-making process.


  • Wind becomes the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity for the first time, accounting for 42 percent.

  • The U.S. has more than 500 wind-related factories. Because of this robust growth, the wind industry employs a record 75,000 Americans.

  • The USFWS finalizes voluntary Land Based Wind Energy Guidelines, largely based on the consensus recommendations of eNGO, state wildlife and industry officials who participated in the Wind Turbine Guidelines Federal Advisory Committee. By following the guidelines, the wind industry agrees to be held to a higher standard for wildlife protection than any other energy industry, including going beyond requirements in federal law.

  • The U.S. wind energy industry has its strongest year ever, installing a record 13,131 MW of electric generating capacity, cumulative wind capacity topping 60,000 MW. Nine states generate at least 10 percent of their electricity using wind.


  • On the heels of a unanimous Board vote and endorsements from public figures including Senator Rob Portman and former governor Christine Todd Whitman, Tom Kiernan joins AWEA as its new CEO. Kiernan formerly headed the National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA), more than doubling its supporter base and growing revenues tenfold. Before NPCA, Kiernan gained business and political experience at Arthur Andersen, as President of the New Hampshire Audubon Society, and as a senior-level official in George H.W. Bush’s administration, where he won the Gold Medal for gaining consensus with businesses and environmentalists on a major pollution-control project at the Grand Canyon.


  • Wind energy saves Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic states $1 billion during the Polar Vortex weather event, improving electric reliability and protecting consumers from energy price spikes.

  • Wind power offers historic low prices, marking the start of a trend toward more direct wind energy purchases by traditional consumer brands and tech companies. By the end of the second quarter, leading brands like Google, IKEA, MARS, and Microsoft announce direct investments in wind energy through long-term contracts or direct ownership.


  • The Department of Energy releases the Wind Vision report that quantifies the economic, environmental and social benefits of a wind energy future. The report shows that U.S. wind power could supply up to 35 percent of the nation’s electricity demand by 2050, and outlines a roadmap for growing the industry to deliver more than 600,000 wind-related jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance and supporting services.

  • California adopts a first-of-its-kind 50 percent RPS, creating new opportunities for wind energy in California and beyond.

  • In December, American wind power gets long-term business certainty as Congress passes a multi-year phase down of the PTC, securing several years of predictable policies that encourage private investment. This extension is expected to stop the boom-bust cycles seen in the prior two decades of tax uncertainty, creating a business environment primed for new growth.  


  • U.S. wind energy capacity has tripled over eight years, surpassing the 80 gigawatt (GW) mark at the end of the year - enough to power 24 million typical American homes.

  • Wind turbine technician becomes America’s fastest-growing job in the country. 

  • American wind power surpasses conventional hydropower to become the nation’s leading renewable resource.

  • In October, the U.S. gets its first offshore wind farm, as the new Block Island wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island comes online. 


  • American wind power is now the largest source of renewable energy generating capacity, thanks to more than 100,000 wind workers across all 50 states. Growing this made-in-the-USA clean energy resource helps rural communities pay for new roads, bridges, and schools, while bringing back manufacturing jobs to the Rust Belt. 

The visionaries who created AWEA saw wind power as a technology that could play an increasingly important role powering America – and it has. Wind brings new opportunities for farm and factory towns across the U.S., and it will continue delivering even more low-cost, reliable electricity to millions of Americans in the years ahead.