- The U.S. wind energy industry installed 1,602 MW of new capacity in the third quarter of 2015, its second largest Q3 total ever, the American Wind Energy Association reported in its latest market summary, released this week. Through the end of the quarter, the industry had put 1,862 turbines into service in 2015, representing 3,596 MW of capacity.
- The industry continues to benefit from the 2014 extension of its federal production tax credit (PTC) which included a special provision allowing developers who met technical start-construction rules by the end of last year to receive the credit. The industry is once again lobbying Congress for a PTC renewal.
- The industry’s cumulative installed capacity is now 69,471 MW. There are 102 projects in 25 states currently in construction, representing over 13,250 MW of capacity. 1,250 MW of that was announced during Q3.
Over 13,000 MW of power purchase agreements (PPAs) for wind have been completed since the start of 2013, and as the industry evolves non-utility off-takers are increasingly important.
Of the 598 MW of PPAs completed in Q3, 366 MWs were contracted by Amazon Web Services, Hewlett-Packard, and the city of Washington, D.C., contributing to concerns that wisespread load defection from large utility customers could undermine power company finances.
For corporations and utilities alike, wind investments are increasingly appealing. Low turbine costs have helped drive wind's installed cost down 66% since 2009, AWEA reported.
Dominant global turbine manufacturers GE Energy, Siemens, and Vestas provided 89% of the machines reported for projects now in construction, and 89% of turbines for projects that have come online in 2015.
Texas, with an installed capacity of over 16,100 MW, is the clear leader in American wind development, with California second at just over 6,000 MW. Over 35% of new construction is in Midwestern and Plains states.
The $0.023/kWh federal tax credit expired at the end of 2014 and, though the Senate Finance Committee voted 23-3 in July to extend it as part of a larger tax bill, House Republicans are pushing against its inclusion in a final bill.