US wind farm development activity rose to a new high point in the second quarter of 2019, according to new data released this week by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Strong consumer demand from Fortune 500 businesses and utilities as well as calls from multiple states for offshore projects added to wind power’s growing development pipeline. At the same time, wind turbine manufacturers saw an increasing number of factory orders for more powerful wind turbines capable of powering almost twice the number of homes as an average wind turbine installed in the past few years.
Courtesy of NREL
These findings and the latest industry data are highlighted in AWEA’s newly released U.S. Wind Industry Second Quarter 2019 Market Report. AWEA market reports provide updates for the US wind energy industry, which continues to supply a growing share of the American electricity generation while creating well-paying careers and economic opportunity in communities across the country.
“Our industry’s success strengthens the US economy because access to affordable, clean American wind power is a competitive advantage in the eyes of business leaders. And when those businesses invest in US. wind energy, it directly benefits the people living and working in our country’s farm, factory, and port communities,” said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan.
The record 41,801 MW of wind capacity currently under construction or in advanced stages of development represents a 10 percent increase over the level of activity this time last year. The wind project pipeline grew seven percent in the second quarter with 7,290 MW in new construction and advanced development activity announced.
Wind power is expanding rapidly in many regions of the country. Over 200 wind projects are underway across 33 states, and 15 of those states have over 1,000 MW of wind capacity that will come online in the near term. Texas currently hosts the most activity (9,015 MW), followed by Wyoming (4,831 MW), New Mexico (2,774 MW), Iowa (2,623 MW), and South Dakota (2,183 MW). Notably, half of all US states have enough projects underway to grow their installed wind capacity by 25 percent or more.
Offshore wind also saw significant activity in the second quarter with new offshore wind targets legislated in Maryland (1,200 MW), Connecticut (2,000 MW), and New York (9,000 MW). New Jersey granted its first offshore renewable energy certificate (OREC) award to Ørsted’s 1,100 MW Ocean Wind project—the largest offshore project planned in the U.S. so far. And the activity hasn’t slowed; early in the third quarter, New York Governor Cuomo announced Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind as winners of the state’s first call for offshore wind project proposals.
The US grid now includes an additional 736 MW of wind power as developers commissioned four new wind farms in the second quarter. This brings total wind capacity to 97,960 MW, with more than 57,000 wind turbines operating in 41 states and two US territories. American wind farms now produce enough electricity to power over 30 million average homes and reliably supply more than 20 percent of the electricity in six states.
Businesses and utilities continue to purchase more wind energy to power their operations. Wind power customers announced new Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), totaling 1,962 MW in the second quarter.
Wind turbine manufacturers have introduced new models at a rapid pace over the past few years. As a result, the number of projects selecting wind turbines with a capacity of 3.5 MW or more is growing significantly. In the second quarter alone, wind turbine manufacturers publicly reported nine orders totaling 2,049 MW for turbines ranging in capacity from 4.2 to 4.5 MW.
You can learn more about wind power, and potentially visit a wind farm or factory, during the third annualAmerican Wind Week, August 11-17. American Wind Week is a national celebration of U.S. leadership in wind power and the many ways wind powers opportunity for jobseekers, communities, and a cleaner future.