Electricity produced by wind energy in the U.S. now equals the output of 11 nuclear power plants, according to a new report from the American Wind Energy
Association, a trade organization. As congressional leaders consider the extension of a tax credit for the emerging wind energy sector, the AWEA says that a surge in wind projects since 2008 has pushed the sector past 50,000 megawatts, enough electricity for 13 million homes — or all the residences in Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama, and Connecticut combined. Wind energy advocates say a critical factor in that growth has been the Production Tax Credit, set to expire this year, which allows wind farm operators a credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity they produce. This week in Iowa, where many farmers receive tens of thousands of dollars annually for keeping wind turbines on their land, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has faced criticism for his opposition to extending the tax credit.