The U.S. wind energy industry added 1.833 GW of new installations in the third quarter, bringing the nation's total wind power capacity to 51.628 GW, according to the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) third-quarter report.
Over 40,000 wind turbines across the U.S. can now produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of all the homes in Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada, AWEA says.
The year-to-date total stood at 4.728 GW at the end of the quarter – up 40% from the same time last year. The average turbine size installed throughout the year continues to hover around 2.0 MW.
According to the AWEA report, the top state for installed new wind energy capacity during the third quarter was Kansas, which added 473 MW and is on track to more than double its wind capacity this year, followed by Oregon (333 MW), Texas (281 MW), Oklahoma (229 MW) and Nevada (152 MW).
Nevada's wind project – Pattern Energy's Spring Valley Wind project – was its first, making it the 39th state with utility-scale wind installations.
Across 29 states and Puerto Rico, there are currently more than 8.43 GW of wind projects under construction – a record for this time in the year.
Texas leads the nation in wind projects under construction, with 1.291 GW under way, followed by California (1.022 GW), Kansas (836 MW), Oklahoma (734 MW), Iowa (597 MW), Colorado (496 MW), Illinois (480 MW) and Michigan (472 MW).
In total, 10 states are on track to add at least 500 MW of wind power this year, with Texas, California, Kansas and Oklahoma on track to add over 1 GW each.
AWEA points out that over 80% of the new capacity coming online or under construction is covered by a long-term power offtake agreement, either through a power purchase agreement between a utility and a wind developer or through direct utility ownership. In fact, projects online through the third quarter and under construction are either owned by or have contracted power with 68 different utilities.
However, AWEA CEO Denise Bode notes that the continuation of the wind industry's record success will be dependent on an extension of the production tax credit.
"This is what a successful policy looks like when it's working, but whether wind will continue to be a bright spot in the U.S. economy now depends on whether Congress acts to extend the production tax credit by the end of the year," she says.