U.S. companies invested $25 billion in wind projects last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That surpasses the U.S. Coast Guard's $10.2 billion budget for fiscal 2012 and the $22.3 billion in direct economic impact attributed to the U.S. gun industry last year. Wind power made up 5.6% of U.S. generating capacity in 2012, up from 3% in 2011, AWEA said. The surge was driven by tax incentives, strong demand from utilities, dwindling costs and improved performance, said Elizabeth Salerno, AWEA's director of industry data and analysis.

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