New data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the wind industry is stronger than ever. The amount of installed wind energy overtook hydroelectric for the first time at the end of 2016, to lead U.S. renewable energy capacity.
That news follows a December report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which projects wind turbine technician is the fastest growing occupation for 2014-2024.
American Wind Energy Association Analyst Hannah Hunt says those trends are also playing out in Indiana.
“It’s what we like to call a cash crop that’s providing a certain amount of price certainty and supplemental income that’s really needed in these communities,” Hunt says.
Hunt says wind brings $5-10 million to Hoosiers who lease their land to developers.
Some renewable energy advocates are concerned about future growth, given President Donald Trump’s emphasis on coal and natural gas development.
But Hunt says wind is actually a perfect fit for Trump’s energy policy.
“By being, really, a homegrown energy resource and by being able to increase the amount of U.S. employment that we have, being able to secure this energy at a low cost,” says Hunt.
Hunt says one key for the wind industry’s continued growth is adding transmission infrastructure, like the Multi Value Project, which will cover Indiana and other Midwest states.