Wind industry marks strongest Q1 for installations since 2012
- The U.S. wind industry marked its biggest first quarter yet with 520 MW of new capacity, as developers rush to take advantage of the newly-extended production tax credit.
- Wind developers have begun constructing 2,000 MW, which brings the total amount of capacity under construction to 10,100 MW.
- Oklahoma led the states with 270 MW of new capacity installations this quarter, followed by Iowa at 154 WW and Utah at 62 MW, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
Texas still holds the lead for wind construction and total installed capacity, Smart Grid News reports, accounting for 54% of reported construction starts this quarter. The Plains region comes in at a distant second behind the Lone Star state, with the Midwest region ranking third.
"Our productive first quarter reflects the strength of American wind power entering 2016. We have a low-cost product that's in high demand," said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA in a statement. "As the wind business builds momentum, we're prepared to double wind's contribution to America's electricity supply in the next five years."
Wind energy provided 4.7% of U.S. electricity in 2015, the most of any non-hydro renewable resource, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association, and renewables met 13.7% of the nation’s electricity demand.
Wind also led new capacity for 2015, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, clocking in at 41%. Solar was second at 28.5%, and natural gas was third at 28.1%.
The wind industry could double its capacity to meet 10% of U.S. electricity demand by 2020 and then double it again to meet 20% of demand in 2030, according to the 2015 Department of Energy Wind Vision report.
- SmartGridNews Wind power off to a good start; best since 2012