By - Jim Vess

U.S. onshore wind generating capacity hits 100 GW, a flurry of year-end projects underway

Energize Weekly, December 18, 2019

Onshore wind generating capacity in the U.S. reached 100 gigawatts (GW) at the end of September 2019, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA).

More than half the capacity has been installed since 2012. The oldest wind turbines still operating in the U.S. date back to 1975.

Forty-one states had at least one installed wind turbine by the end of the third quarter 2019, but just five states account for 56 percent of all the capacity.

Texas has by far and away the most wind generation online with 26.9 GW. Iowa has 8.9 GW and Oklahoma 8.1 GW. Rounding out the top five are Kansas with 6.2 GW and California with 6.1 GW.

Midwestern and Western states account for three-quarters of the installed capacity.

The EIA is projecting another 7.2 GW of wind capacity coming online in December, pushing the total for the year to more than 20 GW, making it the second biggest year after 2012. The agency said it also expects another 14.3 GW of capacity coming online in 2020, so that by the end of next year, the U.S. would have a total capacity of 122 GW.

Driving the boom in wind projects – as was the case in 2012 – is an effort by developers to get the full value of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) before it is reduced. The PTC provides a credit of 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour generated for the first 10 years of a project’s operation.

The PTC was set to expire in 2012 and that led to a flurry of projects. The PTC was extended in 2013 and now once again is set to be phased out.

To receive the full value of the PTC, projects must come online by December 2020. “As in previous years many of the 2020 wind capacity projects are expected to come online in December,” EIA said.

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