- The U.S. Department of Energy yesterday released three reports focused on wind energy, concluding that the country added 8,200 MW of wind capacity last year, representing 27% of all new energy capacity additions in 2016.
- The resource supplied about 6% of domestic electricity last year, and 14 states now get more than 10% of their energy from wind.
- The U.S. Energy Information Administration's recent Short Term Energy Outlook notes wind capacity at the end of 2016 was 81 GW, will rise to 88 GW by the end fof 2017 and 102 GW by the end of 2018.
Driven by tax incentives, state policies and the declining costs of more efficient equipment, DOE yesterday said wind growth is strong, with Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa leading the way.
“The wind industry continues to install significant amounts of new capacity, and supplied about 6 percent of total U.S. electricity in 2016,” Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel Simmons said in a statement. The reports illustrate how a combination of federal subsidies, state mandates and technological advancements continue to help drive new wind capacity additions.
Utility-scale wind installations stand at more than 82 GW, and 40 states and Puerto Rico have utility-scale wind projects. Texas led the nation in wind energy capacity in 2016 with over 20 GW installed; utility-scale wind came online in North Carolina in early 2017.
DOE also finds that wind energy "continues to be sold at attractive prices through power purchase agreements, making this renewable energy source cost-competitive with traditional power sources such as natural gas in many parts of the U.S."
It is especially competitive when wind energy is sold at a fixed price over 20 years, DOE concluded.
In the past year, Iowa and South Dakota produced more than 30% of their electricity from wind, while a dozen other states topped 10%.
And while the offshore industry is just getting started, projects in deeper waters — where traditional mounting technologies will not work — now total almost 2 GW of announced capacity.
Deepwater Wind last year began operating the nation's first offshore wind farm, Rhode Island's Block Island Wind Farm.
As opposed to utility-scale projects, distributed wind installations reached an installed capacity of 992 MW last year. DOE said that capacity came from about 77,000 turbines installed across the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In total, wind generation in the United States almost doubled from about 120 million MWh in 2011 to more than 226 million MWh last year.