North America accounts for more than 22% of the world's total installed wind power capacity, and the region will more than double its current installed capacity to reach 125 GW by 2017, with onshore installations expected to represent more than 97% of that total, finds a new report from Pike Research.
Overall, approximately $145 billion will be invested in onshore and offshore wind energy installations between 2011 and 2017, the firm says.
According to the report, one factor powering the wind industry is consolidation. Over the past three years, numerous high-level mergers and acquisitions have resulted in more dynamic, vertically integrated companies.
While the majority are pure technology plays, the report says, the increasing trend is for manufacturers to acquire wind farm development companies as a strategy for ensuring the use of their turbines.
"Recovery is gradually taking hold across the wind industry in North America, and many key industry players are optimistic about the North American market, as turbine costs continue to drop dramatically," says research analyst Dexter Gauntlett.
"However, the uncertainty surrounding the extension of the production tax credit in the U.S. continues to prevent the country from reaching its full potential," he adds. "The United States produces enough electricity from wind energy to power 10 million homes – but there is still plenty of room to grow. Wind still accounts for only 2.3% of total electricity generation in the United States, compared with around 20% of total generation in some countries."