Wind power capacity in the United States increased by 8,558 megawatts in 2008 and $16 billion were invested in wind projects during that year making it the fastest-growing wind power market in the world for the fourth consecutive year, according to the 2008 Wind technologies market report from the Department of Energy released Thursday.

The Energy Department said the cumulative wind capacity installed in the U.S. at the end of 2008 would be able to supply roughly 1.9 percent of the nation’s electricity consumption.

The report says wind power contributed 42 percent of all new U.S. electric generating capacity across the nation in 2008, according to the report, a figure in line with a report from the American Wind Energy Association in April.

Wind power was the second-largest new resource added to the U.S. electrical grid in nameplate capacity, according to the DOE report.

The U.S. continues to lead the world in annual capacity growth and overtook Germany to take the lead in cumulative wind capacity, the DOE noted.

For the fourth straight year, the United States led the world in wind capacity additions, capturing roughly 30% of the worldwide market.

Today's report surpasses figures from the American Wind Energy Association which reported installations of wind energy increased 58 percent to 8,300 megawatts in 2008 compared to the previous year.