By - Jim Vess

U.S. wind turbine market sets construction and sales records in the third quarter of 2018

Energize Weekly, November 7, 2018

The U.S. wind industry installed 612 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity during the third quarter of 2018, a 15 percent increase over the third quarter of 2017, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) quarterly market report.

Project construction activity in the third quarter also set a new record with a total of 20,798 MW of capacity under construction, and another 17,167 MW in advanced development.

The combined figure for projects under construction and in development is a 28 percent year-over-year increase, according to AWEA, an industry trade group.

In the third quarter alone, 2,180 MW in projects began construction and 2,327 MW entered advanced development.

Eleven new wind projects were commissioned in seven states during the quarter, led by Texas with 216 MW of projects, Oklahoma with 199 MW and Ohio with 108 MW.

A third of all wind development activity was in the Midwest, followed by Texas with 21 percent, the Mountain West with 20 percent and the Plains states with 15 percent. Commissions for new wind capacity year-to-date total 1,664 MW.

Seven states now have more capacity under construction or in advanced development than is currently operating.

There is a total of 90,550 MW of total installed wind capacity and more than 54,000 wind turbines operating in 41 states, Guam and Puerto Rico, according to AWEA.

Utilities were the biggest customers, signing 62 percent of the 2,467 wind power purchase agreements (PPA) in the third quarter. This included 800 MW from the Vineyard Wind offshore project to Eversource Energy, National Grid and Unitil.

Corporate customers accounted for the remaining 32 percent of PPAs. Through just three quarters, 2018 is already the most active year on record for corporate and non-utility PPAs.

A total of 7,550 MW in PPAs have been contracted so far in 2018, exceeding the annual activity in each of the last four years.

GE Renewable Energy turbines dominated the market, accounting for 63 percent of the market in the first three quarters of 2018, followed by Vestas with a 26 percent share and Goldwind with a 10 percent share.

The majority of projects under construction or in advanced development are using turbines with a nameplate capacity between 2 MW and 3 MW. About 30 percent are reported to be using turbines rated a 3 MW or larger.

In the third quarter, the first 4-MW onshore wind turbines in the U.S. were ordered, according to Senvion and Vestas.

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