With the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) Dec. 31 in-service deadline looming, the wind industry continued its momentum in the second quarter, installing 1.2 GW of new generation capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) recently released second-quarter market report.
In fact, the U.S. has now surpassed 50 GW of cumulative installed wind energy capacity, AWEA CEO Denise Bode announced this week at the Clean Energy Summit being held in Las Vegas. This represents five times the country's 10 GW cumulative installed capacity in 2006 and twice that of what was installed in 2008.
The second-quarter figure was down from the 1.695 GW installed in Q1. However, the numbers for the first half of the year represent a 34% increase over the amount installed in the first half of 2011, the report notes.
Utility-scale wind turbines are now installed across 38 states - 14 of which have more than 1 GW each - but just 13 states added new capacity in Q2. The top state for new wind power installations in the second quarter was Ohio, followed by Illinois, California, Oklahoma and Kansas.
Not surprisingly, developers are scrambling to get their projects built before the Dec. 31 PTC in-service deadline, as election-year politics hamper the tax credit’s extension prospects. A record-breaking 10.3 GW of projects were under construction in Q2, compared to the 8.9 GW under construction in Q1. Of the 10.3 GW, 2.7 GW of those projects entered construction in Q2.
Texas continues to maintain its wind power dominance, with 1.573 MW under construction, followed by Kansas (1.309 GW), California (1.165 GW), Oklahoma (963 MW), Iowa (609 MW) and Michigan (500 MW). Notably, Kansas has more megawatts under construction than it has online.
Five additional states have at least 300 MW under construction, and in total, 21 states have at least 100 MW under construction.
In celebrating the 50 GW milestone, AWEA noted that wind turbines now power the equivalent of nearly 13 million U.S. households - or as many as in Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama and Connecticut combined.
In fact, U.S. installed wind energy capacity now represents the generation equivalent of 44 coal-fired power plants or 11 nuclear plants, according to AWEA.
With the growth in installed capacity has come higher domestic content in U.S.-deployed wind turbines, which surged from 25% U.S.-made in 2005 to over 60% today, with a steadily increasing number of factories joining the U.S. supply chain, AWEA notes. Currently, 500 U.S. factories provide wind power components.