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Wind energy blows through economic downturn.

Despite the global recession and decreased energy demand in many countries, more wind energy was installed last year than ever before. World windpower capacity increased 31 percent in 2009, with an additional 38 gigawatts installed, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

China surpassed the Unites States as the windpower leader in 2009. It doubles its generation capacity for the fifth consecutive year, adding some 13 gigawatts. "China is not waiting to revamp its clean energy economy," said Virginia Sonntag-O'Brien head of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). "Things are happening ... now at a pace that has everyone spinning."

The United States continues to lead in total installed wind capacity, adding nearly 10 gigawatts in 2009, according to the American Wind Energy Association. After beginning the year with fears that wind power development would drop by half, the industry nearly tied with natural gas as the nation's leading source of new electricity generation. Europe also added some 10 gigawatts of new capacity in 2009.

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The resiliency of wind power and other clean technology investments in the face of economic downturn demonstrates that the sector has become the "third leg of the venture capital stool, right alongside information technology and life sciences," said Ira Ehrenpreis of the investment firm Technology Partners.

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Title Annotation:EYE ON EARTH
Publication:World Watch
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2010
Words:216
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