- Wind energy development and construction rose 40% in the second quarter compared to the same time last year, according to a new report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
- Nationwide, 29 wind projects with a combined capacity of 3,841 MW began construction in Q2, bringing the total to 25,819 MW of wind projects in various phases of construction, 7,500 MW more than the end of Q2 2016.
- On another front, Kansas became the fifth state to reach the benchmark of 5,000 MW of installed wind energy. The majority of those projects are centered in the Midwest, Texas and the Mountain West (including states like Wyoming.)
Wind energy continues to boom as development numbers pile up. Since the extension of the wind production tax credit at the end of last year, wind developers are churning out projects before the PTC expires completely in 2020.
AWEA's report reflects the building binge. In addition to overall numbers, Kansas has amassed more than 5,000 MW of installed capacity after installing a 178 MW wind project last quarter. AWEA also noted other major milestones, including Maryland's offshore wind projects snagging renewable energy credits and the influx of big commercial and industrial customers purchasing wind energy, including Apple and General Mills.
Offshore wind has gained momentum since the successful completion of Rhode Island's 30 MW Block Island project at the end of 2016. Maryland and Massachusetts also announced initiatives to encourage development off their shores. Last year, Mass. Gov Charlie Baker (R) signed comprehensive energy legislation that, in addition to 1,200 MW of clean energy, also called for 1,600 MW of offshore wind by 2027.
The state's incumbent utilities are soliciting 400 MW for now, though the amount can change depending on the bids. Three companies, including Deepwater Wind, the developer of Block Island, are competing for the RFP. And Maryland regulators in May awarded offshore wind credits (ORECS) to two projects with a combined capacity of 368 MW valued at a levelized cost of $131.93/MWh for 20 years.
North Carolina was another state developers eyed for both offshore and onshore wind development. While a recent moratorium on wind development passed with a solar bill could stunt the industry, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) issued an executive order to mitigate the moratorium's impact on wind development.
At the time, AWEA said in an email to Utility Dive, "We applaud Governor Cooper’s executive action seeking to maximize the future opportunity for jobs and investment in wind power in North Carolina. We look forward to working with the administration to help ensure that wind projects move forward without further delay once this unnecessary anti-business moratorium has lifted."