The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported that 419 MW of installed capacity came online during the third quarter ending Sept. 30, taking the total amount of year-to-date installs to 1.3 GW.
The figure, which easily surpasses the mark of 1.08 GW installed for all of 2013, includes 19 U.S. wind projects completed this year, says Emily Williams, AWEA's manager of industry data and analysis, during a conference for Wall Street investors at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
Citing historical analysis, Williams says the number of completed projects will undoubtedly rise in the fourth quarter as developers rush to complete projects. Typically, 60% to 70% of annual installations are completed in the fourth quarter, Williams notes.
She says approximately 13.6 GW are currently under construction across 105 projects. More than half of that total is in Texas where approximately 7.6 GW are under construction thanks to the buildout of Texas' Competitive Renewable Energy Zones transmission project.
The majority of the projects started under the last extension of the production tax credit (PTC) are expected to finish construction. An additional 3.7 GW of projects are ‘under development’ with off-take agreements, but have not started construction, she adds.
Taken together, she says, the two figures point to better times ahead for developers and suppliers in 2015.
While the total number of wind projects waiting to be built is an encouraging sign, the association continues to grapple with Congress for extending its most pressing legislative priorities: the PTC and investment tax credit.
Tom Kiernan, CEO, told conference attendees that he is optimistic that Congress will extend the PTC after the election.
‘We believe Congress will do what it takes so we can keep these U.S. factories open and offer this increasingly affordable source of electricity to more Americans, instead of seeing the 92% dropoff we saw in 2013 when the tax credit was last allowed to expire.’
AWEA notes that efforts to secure an extension are under way, noting that the EXPIRE Act, a bill that extends nearly 60 tax provisions, is now pending in the U.S. Senate. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service recently warned Congress that added delay in passing the extenders bill could lead to problematic delays for 2015 tax filers.
‘With continued technological innovation,’ Kiernan notes, ‘wind energy has become so affordable that it offers utilities and consumers an irresistible value.’