By - Jim Vess

Wind power installations have a big 2018 fourth quarter, powered by corporate power purchases

Energize Weekly, February 20, 2019

Wind generation installations in the fourth quarter of 2018 hit 5,944 megawatts (MW)—the third highest quarter on record for new installations—driven by corporate and non-utility power purchases, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) market report.

Corporate and non-utility wind procurement accounted for 68 percent of the total installations in the fourth quarter—a 66 percent increase over the previous quarterly record set in 2015, according to AWEA, the industry’s prime trade group.

The total installations for 2018 were 7,588 MW, which brought total U.S. wind capacity to 96,488 MW from 58,000 wind turbines in 41 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. The 2018 totals were an 8 percent increase over 2017.

Wind power purchase agreements—under which developers and operators of wind facilities provide power to buyers in long-term contracts—reached a record 8,507 MW in 2018, with 1,589 MW of contracts signed in the fourth quarter.

There was a total of 16,521 MW of wind projects under construction at the end of the year and 18,574 MW in advanced development—a 22 percent year-on-year increase, according to developers.

Texas currently accounts for 20 percent of the combined activity, followed by Wyoming with 13 percent, Iowa with 9 percent, South Dakota with 6 percent and New Mexico with 6 percent.

There were 47 new wind facilities commissioned in 17 states during the fourth quarter, led by Texas with 1,479 MW of capacity installed, Iowa with 1,116 MW, Colorado with 600 MW, Kansas with 543 MW and Nebraska with 521 MW.

There were also 909 MW of partial repowerings of existing facilities in the quarter and a total of 1,237 MW of repowering projects for the year.

The top turbine manufacturer in 2018 was GE Renewable Energy, with 40 percent of the wind capacity installations. Vesta, which claimed top honors last year, was second with a 38 percent market share. Nordex was third with an 11 percent share. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy accounted for 8 percent of the installations.

The majority of turbines commissioned in 2018 have a nameplate capacity between 2 MW and 3 MW, while 24 percent are employing turbines rated at 3 MW or more.

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