Wind power production continues to increase in the U.S., with a more than 40% increase in the number of wind projects under construction or in advanced development this year compared to the same time last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The group announced the figures during a July 27 meeting in Washington, D.C.
The AWEA’s U.S. Wind Industry Second Quarter 2017 Market Report shows about 80% of the current wind turbine construction and development during the April–June period was in the Mountain West, Midwest (where Xcel Energy just announced several projects), and Texas. The report says that represented 29 projects with a combined generation capacity of 3,841 MW, including two offshore wind projects totaling 368 MW that received Maryland offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs). Industry analysts have said wind projects offshore the U.S. coast hold plenty of potential; Massachusetts recently issued request for proposals (RFPs) for offshore wind projects.
The group said a total of 25,819 MW of wind projects are currently underway in the U.S., up from 18,279 MW underway a year ago.
“The path to unlocking America’s full energy potential is clear with another strong jump in the number of wind projects moving forward,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, in a statement. “Wind energy makes our power system more reliable and resilient and protects consumers by diversifying our energy mix. The wind industry is propelling American energy production, manufacturing, and job creation into the 21st Century.”
The report notes that five states now have more than 5,000 MW of installed wind power capacity, with Kansas joining Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) announced in 2016 a state goal of 50% electricity production from renewable sources by January 2019.
Amy Farrell, senior vice president of Government & Public Affairs for AWEA, participated in a July 27 webinar to roll out the report. She talked about the growth in wind power projects, noting that “although it comes after the period covered by this report, just yesterday [July 26] we heard about another 2,000 MW underway by Invenergy, AEP, and Public Service Oklahoma. MidAmerican now has 2,000 MW underway in its Wind XI project in Iowa, [and] similarly the Power Company of Wyoming has their Chokecherry Sierra Madre projects, which will result in an eventual 3,000 MW.”
Several U.S. corporations in the second quarter signed contracts to purchase wind energy, including General Mills, which signed a 15-year deal for 100 MW of wind power in Texas. Other companies signing power purchase agreements included Goldman Sachs, T-Mobile, Apple, Akamai Technologies, and Partners Healthcare.
The U.S. at present has 84,405 MW of installed wind capacity, according to AWEA, with more than 52,000 commercial wind turbines in operation across 41 states, along with Guam and Puerto Rico. A library of U.S. wind turbine images is available on AWEA’s website. Farrell announced that AWEA would sponsor American Wind Week in August, with an event Aug. 12 in Fowler, Ind.—a rural community about halfway between Chicago and Indianapolis that has several nearby wind farms.
–Darrell Proctor is a POWER associate editor. (@DarrellProctor1, @POWERmagazine)