Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Wind - January 31, 2018
New wind farms drive investment in 2017 and beyond
The U.S. wind power industry ended 2017 with $11 billion in new private investment and 7,017 MW of new wind capacity, according to the U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2017 Market Report, released on Jan. 30 by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Growth is expected to continue in 2018 and beyond as the pipeline of wind farms under construction or in advanced development totals 28,668 MW, a 34% increase since the end of 2016.
AWEA reports there are now 89,077 MW of wind power installed across 41 states. In the fourth quarter of 2017 alone, 29 new wind farms came online across 16 states, totaling 4,125 MW.
"Wind delivered big results for the U.S. economy in 2017. Building new wind farms keeps American factory and construction workers busy, while breathing new life into farming and ranching communities," said Tom Kiernan, AWEA’s CEO. "This American success story will continue, with the wind project construction and advanced development pipeline four times greater than the amount installed in 2017. That means tens of billions in additional infrastructure investment is on its way."
While Texas remains the leader in terms of installed wind capacity, Oklahoma moved ahead of Iowa in the fourth quarter to rank second. Texas also led the quarter for new wind capacity, followed by Oklahoma, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri.
PPAs totaled 5,496 MW during the year, with 710 coming in the fourth quarter. The yearly total represents the highest PPA volume seen since 2013. AWEA reports that "non-utility customers have become a large and steady source of demand for wind power, but utilities continued to be the biggest overall customers, signing roughly 60 percent of the contracted wind capacity in 2017." The report notes that "utilities and these Fortune 500 brands are buying wind power because it makes business sense and it’s clean."
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