Strong growth in the U.S. wind energy industry accelerated during the first quarter, with a near-record 13.6 GW of generating capacity under construction across 100 projects in 23 states, according to data provided by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
According to AWEA, the U.S. wind industry completed 131 MW of generating capacity in the first quarter (traditionally, the slowest quarter of the year for completions). These wind turbines were installed across three projects in different states, with most of the new capacity installed in Texas (110 MW), followed by Iowa (20 MW) and New York (1 MW).
Wind developers also reported 1.2 GW of new construction activity in the first quarter for projects that were previously under development, contributing to more than 13,600 MW of total capacity under construction as of March 31.
AWEA says the top state with the most under construction is Texas, where more than 7.8 GW are being built, most of it connected to the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone transmission lines in West Texas. Rounding out the top five states are Oklahoma with over 890 MW under construction, Kansas with more than 870 MW, New Mexico with 680 MW and North Dakota with more than 530 MW.
‘These latest numbers confirm that the immediate future for the wind industry is bright, as we're seeing the second-highest construction levels in U.S. history for new wind projects,’ says Hannah Hunt, research analyst for AWEA.
Adds Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, ‘We're just getting this bounce back started as we work to double American wind power by 2020.’
To keep up the momentum, Kiernan says Congress must provide a stable business environment by extending the production tax credit (PTC) for as long as possible.
‘No one wants to throw a promising American industry off a cliff, but that's what could happen to future development unless the PTC is extended.’