U.S. wind capacity nears 89 GW - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  August 24, 2018

U.S. wind capacity nears 89 GW

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced on August 23 that the U.S. wind industry installed 7,017 megawatts (MW) of capacity last year, bringing total utility-scale wind capacity to nearly 89 GW.

The announcement was part of the release of three reports “ demonstrating that as wind installations continue across the country and offshore wind projects move beyond the planning process, technology costs and wind energy prices continue to fall,” according to a statement from the DOE.

Key findings of the 2017 Wind Technologies Market Report include:

  • $11 billion was invested in new wind plants in 2017.
  • Wind energy contributed 3% of the nation's electricity supply, more than 10% of total electricity generation in fourteen states, and more than 30% in four of those states.
  • Wind projects built in the past few years have seen capacity factors increase by 79 compared to projects installed from 1998 to 2001, due in part to the development of bigger turbines with longer blades that enhance wind plant performance.
  • The average installed cost of wind projects in 2017 was $1,611 per kilowatt (kW), down 33% from the peak in 2009-2010.
  • In total, 41 states operated utility-scale wind projects. Texas leads the nation with over 22 GW of wind capacity, while Oklahoma, Iowa, California, and Kansas have more than 5,000 MW.
  • With federal tax incentives still available, various forecasts for the domestic market show expected wind power capacity additions of 8,000 to 11,000 MW/year from 2018 to 2020, with market contraction anticipated beginning in 2021 as those tax incentives are phased out.

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