By - Jim Vess

U.S. wind installations up in 4Q of 2018 with total capacity for the year at 96,488 MW

Energize Weekly, April 24, 2019

A total of 5,944 megawatts (MW) of wind turbines were installed in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2018, the third highest quarter on record, bringing total installed capacity for the year to 96,488 MW, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

A big driver was corporate and non-utility wind procurement, which set a record in 2018 with power purchase agreements (PPA) signed for 4,023 MW—a 66 percent jump over the previous record in 2015, according to AWEA’s quarterly market report. It was the most active year ever recorded for non-utility PPAs.

There was a total 8,507 MW in signed PPAs in 2018—the biggest year on record, including 1,586 MW in the fourth quarter. Corporate and non-utility customers accounted for 75 percent of the PPAs in the fourth quarter, 1,177 MW, with seven first-time wind buyers.

In utility-scale installations NextEra Energy Resources added the most new wind capacity in 2018, a total of 1,406 MW. NextEra was followed by Berkshire Hathaway Energy with 1,329 MW and Enel Green Power North America with 802 MW.

In the seesaw battle for top spot, GE Renewable Energy was first in turbine sales with 40 percent of the market in 2018 followed by Vesta with a 38 percent market share. Nordex USA was third with 11 percent of market sales, and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy accounted for 8 percent of installations.

The majority of turbines commissioned in 2018 have a nameplate capacity between 2 MW and 3 MW, while 24 percent of projects used turbines rated 3 MW and above.

There were 47 new wind projects commissioned across 17 states in the fourth quarter. Texas led with 1,479 MW installed, followed by Iowa with 1,116 MW, Colorado with 600 MW, Kansas with 543 MW and Nebraska with 521 MW. In all, 20 states added wind capacity in 2018.

Iowa overtook Oklahoma in the fourth quarter for second place, after Texas, for most wind power capacity in the country.

Texas continues to lead in total wind capacity with 24,899 MW followed by Iowa—8,422 MW, Oklahoma—8,072 MW and California—5,885 MW.

There are 35,095 MW of wind capacity under construction or in advanced development at the end of the fourth quarter, with 5,786 MW in new activity during the last three months, according to project developers.

The largest concentration of this activity is in Texas, with 20 percent of the capacity in the pipeline, followed by Wyoming with 13 percent, Iowa with 9 percent, and South Dakota and Mexico, each with 6 percent. A little less than a quarter of the capacity is under direct utility ownership.

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