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The North American wind market will recover in 2014 after a lackluster performance in 2013 and grow 207% year-over-year (YOY), according to a new report from MAKE Consulting. Specifically, the research firm says the region added 2.7 GW last year and is slated to install 8.3 GW this year.

In addition, MAKE expects North America to install 58.6 GW through 2023 - 30% of which is expected from 2014 to 2016 on account of an anticipated production tax credit (PTC) extension in the U.S. this year and provincial feed-in tariffs (FITs) and procurements in Canada.

Beyond 2016, MAKE expects two more growth cycles from 2018 to 2020 and from 2021 to 2023, which will largely track state renewable energy standard (RES) targets and fossil fuel capacity retirements in the U.S.

The firm says that although North American wind power development continues to hinge on intermittent policy support mechanisms, economic factors, including volatile natural gas prices and reductions in wind power’s levelized cost of energy (LCOE), will have growing importance and help drive new capacity through 2023.

With an expected CAGR of 17.1% from 2013 to 2023, the U.S. will remain the dominant market in North America. Cumulative installations over the next 10 years in the U.S. are expected to be four times larger than Canada’s. In terms of long-term development, MAKE says growth in the U.S. appears to be more secure as state RES policies, coal retirements, and stronger economic growth offer steady sources of demand for wind power; while Canada awaits successor policies.

Although this paints a very positive picture for development in the U.S., MAKE notes that the encouraging 17.1% CAGR is mainly on account of the PTC bubble in 2012, which caused an unusual downturn in 2013. Last year saw a 91% drop in installations from 2012 and also marked the first year Canada outpaced the U.S. in terms of new wind turbine capacity installations.

From 2014 to 2016, the Canadian wind industry will have the largest three-year growth in its history, as it is expected to add 5.1 GW of new wind capacity. More than 70% of this record growth will occur in Ontario and Quebec, thanks to their provincial FIT and procurement policies specifically for wind power. New procurement policies in these two provinces were announced in 2013,with 1.4 GW of new wind power to be installed within the next four years.

In the U.S., 18.1GW will be commissioned in the next three years. Nearly half of the new build will occur in Texas, and another 36% in states with RES policies. MAKE expects a PTC renewal in the fourth quarter of 2014, extending the eligibility deadline for new project starts until 1 January 2016.

MAKE says the LCOE of new wind power is declining, while average wholesale electricity prices are rising. The company expects wind power’s LCOE to reach grid parity in key markets in 2016 and most of the U.S. by 2023. This will be a driver for the U.S. wind market during this decade, but grid parity is on a longer time horizon in Canada due to lower electricity prices and large reserves of hydroelectric power.



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