By - Jim Vess

U.S. posts a record for wind installations in Q4 2019 led by Texas and Iowa projects

Energize Weekly, February 5, 2020

The U.S. wind industry finished 2019 in a flurry with the busiest fourth quarter on record as 5,476 megawatts (MW) of capacity were installed, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The late push made 2019 the third busiest year for wind turbine installations – 9,143 MW.

There were 35 projects in 16 states in the fourth quarter with Texas and Iowa accounting for the majority of the capacity, according to AWEA’s fourth quarter market report.

A total of 1,807 MW was installed in Texas and 1,202 MW were added in Iowa. They were followed by South Dakota with 506 MW, North Dakota with 473 MW and Illinois with 465 MW.

AWEA said that there is now a total of 105,583 MW of wind power capacity in the U.S. from 59,800 wind turbines spread across 41 states and two U.S. territories.

In overall capacity, Texas leads with 28,843 MW followed by Iowa (10,190 MW), Oklahoma (8,172 MW), Kansas (6,128 MW) and California (5,793 MW).

There were also 17 projects in the fourth quarter partially repowering 1,165 MW of turbines with a total of 2,500 MW of repowering projects for 2019.

Projects in the development pipeline at the end of 2019 were 26 percent higher than at the end of 2018 – totaling 44,153 MW. There were 22,115 MW under construction and 22,038 in advanced development.

In the fourth quarter, 5,622MW of projects started construction and 3,458 entered advanced development. Eighteen states have more than 1,000 MW under construction or in advanced development.

Texas accounts for 18 percent of the development pipeline project capacity followed by Wyoming with 11 percent and Oklahoma with 8 percent.

Power purchase agreements (PPA) were the main financial instrument used to back wind farms and buy their energy. Total PPA activity reached a record 8,726 MW in 2019, including 2,077 MW of PPAs announced in the fourth quarter.

Almost half of the projects in the pipeline have a PPA in place. Utilities own 27 percent of the projects being developed.

Utilities also signed contracts for 841 MW of power in the fourth quarter and a record total of 5,266 MW for 2019.

Corporations were among the biggest customers for wind power PPAs signing contracts for 59 percent of all the fourth quarter capacity – 1,236 MW. Among the first time purchaser of wind power were Baker Hughes, Estée Lauder, and McDonald’s.

GE Renewable Energy was the top turbine manufacturer in 2019 with a 45 percent share of new capacity installations. Vestas followed with 33 percent of the market, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy captured 16 percent, and Nordex USA tallied 6 percent of installations.

Average turbine capacities continue to grow, with 25 percent of turbines installed in 2019 rated between 3.1 MW to 3.6 MW.

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