The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

U.S. Wind Market Boomed in 2012

Wind power remains the king of renewable energy generation in the United States. Project developers installed 13.1 GW of wind turbines in 2012, a 28 percent growth from the year before, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

The fourth quarter of last year was particularly busy as 8,380 MW of wind energy generation materialized. That doubled the 4,113 MW added in the last quarter of 2009, the association said in a report released Wednesday.

Overall, the U.S. has about 60 GW of wind energy generation capacity, though that doesn't speak of the amount of electricity that flows from the wind turbines. The turbines will start to turn and generate electricity only when there is a strong enough wind. The intermittent trait of wind energy generation, along with solar energy production, remains a challenge for utilities to manage and integrate them into the electric grid. The grid runs smoothly when it achieves a balance of supply and demand.

Wind energy does out-produce other forms of renewable electricity. Wind farms generated 120.2 terawatt-hours of energy in 2011, compared to 1.8 terawatt-hours of solar, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. For the first 11 months of 2012, wind turbines across the country produced 125.9 terawatt-hours of electricity, compared with 4.1 terawatt-hours of solar during the same period.

A fear of losing a federal production tax credit (PTC) drove much of the frenzy to complete projects before the end of 2012. For a while, it seemed destined to disappear at the turn of the new year. The tax credit, worth 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, was then saved by the bill to prevent the so-called "fiscal cliff" earlier this month. The one-year extension also changed the rules: wind farms that begin construction 2013 but won't finish until 2014 or later will still be eligible to claim the credit. Previously, only wind farms that were completed before the end of 2012 could claim the credit.

The federal government first offered the PTC in 1992 to help the fledging wind energy industry. Congress has extended over half a dozen times and seems to be the subject of the perennial debate over how much the government should subsidize renewable energy generation. Renewable energy advocates argue that the government should continue its financial support of renewable energy production because renewable energy leaves a smaller carbon footprint. Beyond that, they point out that the fossil fuel industry gets a greater amount of government incentives.

It will be a long while yet before renewable electricity will get anywhere near the production levels of power from fossil fuels or nuclear. Renewable electricity accounted for 13 percent of the total electricity generation in the U.S. in 2010, and that slice should grow to 16 percent by 2040, said the Energy Information Administration. Coal-based power generation is set to decline while natural gas power plants will increase their dominance to 30 percent of the country's total electricity generation by 2040. Back in 2010, natural gas fueled 25 percent of the power generation.

The wind energy association noted a growing interest by large businesses to install their wind turbines or contract to buy wind energy. More schools and universities also have signed power purchase agreements. The association counted 18 companies that have bought wind energy, as well as at least 11 schools and colleges.

Texas retains the top spot for wind energy generation, followed by California, Iowa, Illinois and Oregon.  Texas added 1,289 MW of wind in the fourth quarter of 2012 while California installed 994 megawatts.  The No. 3 most active wind construction state at the end of 2012 was in fact Kansas, followed by Oklahoma.

The association declined to issue an installation forecast for 2013. 

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Solar Beats Gas in Colorado

Christopher Martin, Bloomberg SunEdison Inc., the biggest clean-energy developer, began construction on a Colorado solar farm that will be the larg...

US Offshore Wind Gets a Much Needed Boost

Vince Font Construction of the first U.S. offshore wind farm is underway off the coast of Rhode Island, and earlier this month s...

Why Renewable Energy in Latin America is a Winner

Carlos Candiales Renewable energy in Latin America has made some important gains over the last decade and seems positioned to continue...

US Wind Energy Selling At Record Low Price of 2.5 Cents per kWh

Andrew Burger Wind power prices have dropped down to an all-time low of just 2.5 cents per kWh, far below the average national aver...

PRESS RELEASES

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

FEATURED BLOGS

The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

Activity supported with Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation funding BOONE—The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachia...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Ucilia Wang is a California-based freelance journalist who writes about renewable energy. She previously was the associate editor at Greentech Media and a staff writer covering the semiconductor industry at Red Herring. In addition to Renewable En...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Global Wind Energy Council Presents: Doing Business in Europe

There is now 128.8 GW of installed wind energy capacity in the EU (appro...

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

International Energy and Sustainability Conference 2015

The fourth International Energy and Sustainability Conference will be he...

COMPANY BLOGS

Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

Fact Check: AWEA represents American wind power

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is proud of its members for ...

Koch Professor drops his Koch title, still makes same errors plus s...

The Koch Professor’s title isn’t the only thing that’s...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS