- The U.S. wind energy industry brought 533 MW of capacity online in Q1 2015, just over the 532 MW added in the first quarter of last year, according to SNL. The sharp drop-off from Q4 2014’s 3,565 MW of new capacity was typical, as the bulk of the industry’s new installs usually come at the end of the year.
- Despite doubt that the now-expired production tax credit (PTC) would be extended, 10 new projects representing 2,166 MW of capacity were announced in Q1 2015. Those included two 408 MW offshore wind projects for Hawaii.
- The U.S. wind energy industry has an on-going “wind rush,” with 8,217 MW of capacity under construction, all expected to go online by the end of 2016 in order to access the PTC funds. Those projects initially qualified for the tax credit by meeting minimum in-construction standards before the end of 2014.
The U.S. wind energy industry’s near record expansion includes construction at 100 sites in 23 states, according to the Q1 2015 Market Report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
The biggest project that came online in Q1 2015 was North Dakota’s 205 MW Bison 4 installation, owned by Minnesota Power. The second biggest, Texas’s 110 MW Keechi Wind Project, has a 20 year PPA with Microsoft. The U.S. wind industry’s first offshore wind project, Rhode Island’s 5 turbine, 30 MW Block Island installation, also started construction in Q1.
Texas’s installed capacity of 14,900 MW leads the U.S., as does its 2,802 MW of in-construction capacity and its 19,242 MW of early-stage development capacity. The other top 5 states for new construction are Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, and North Dakota.
The just-released Department of Energy Wind Vision showed the U.S. industry could grow from today’s 4.5% share of the nation’s electricity to 35% in 2050.