By - Jim Vess

A record number of wind projects being built and planned in the U.S., AWEA says

Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019

The U.S. wind industry hit a record for construction and project development in the second quarter of 2019 with nearly 42,000 megawatts (MW) of projects being built or in advance development, according to an American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) market report.

The 20,908 MW of wind farms under construction and the 20,983 MW in the development pipeline represent a 10 percent year-over-year increase. “A high watermark for the industry,” AWEA, the industry’s major trade group, said.

In the quarter, 736 MW of wind capacity came online, bringing the figure for the first six months of 2019 to 1,577 MW, 53 percent over the first half of 2018.

Projects totaling 4,448 MW started construction in the quarter, and there were announcements of 2,842 MW of projects entering advanced development. The combined 7,290 MW is the second-highest volume posted for a quarter.

Total installed wind capacity in the U.S. is now at 97,960 MW with more than 57,000 wind turbines operating across 41 states and two U.S. territories.

Fifteen states have more than 1,000 MW of wind projects under construction or in advanced development. Texas accounts for 22 percent of the projects in the pipeline followed by Wyoming with 12 percent, New Mexico with 7 percent and South Dakota with 5 percent.

For the year, Texas leads in installations with 734 MW, Iowa is second with 536 MW and Michigan third with 161 MW.

“American wind power’s record growth continues to accelerate with over 200 wind farm projects underway in 33 states,” Tom Kiernan, AWEA CEO, said in a statement. “Our industry’s success strengthens the U.S. economy because access to affordable, clean American wind power is a competitive advantage in the eyes of business leaders.”

Non-utility corporate customers signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 52 percent of the second quarter capacity. Utility purchases accounted for the other 48 percent of the PPAs.

Among the first-time corporate buyers of wind energy were Hormel Foods, Smithfield Foods, Crown Holdings and Ernst & Young. Corporate customers adding to their existing wind energy portfolios were Walmart, Target and General Mills.

The wind market is also looking to get a boost in offshore projects with the announcements of targets for wind development in New York —9,000 MW; Connecticut—2,000 MW and Maryland—1,200 MW.

New Jersey has already granted a project certificate to Ørsted for its 1,100 MW Ocean Wind project—the largest offshore project planned in the U.S. to date.

Danish turbine marker Vestas provided 49 percent of the turbine installations in the first half of 2019, followed by GE Renewable Energy with 42 percent. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy had a 9 percent market share.

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