Washington, D.C., United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) this week announced that the U.S. wind industry installed an anemic 539 megawatts (MW) of capacity in the first quarter of 2010, the lowest first quarter figure since 2007. While the industry set records in 2009 by installing more than 10,000 MW, continued lack of long-term market signals from the federal government, combined with low power demand and price, has allowed the pipeline for advanced projects to slow over the past 18 months.
AWEA also called on Congress to put in place a strong national renewable electricity standard (RES) as part of comprehensive climate and energy legislation to provide the hard targets needed to stabilize the industry.
“Financing wind projects is an 18 month process and the struggles in 2009 to raise new capital, combined with lack of new demand from utilities, are now surfacing in the market and reflected in project installations,” said Denise Bode, AWEA’s CEO. “Minimal new installations and current announcements for project delays or downgrades in 2010 are the consequences of inaction to provide a serious market signal. With swift action today, wind project development can be nimble and ramp up quickly, creating new domestic manufacturing orders.”
The cycle of wind capacity installations over the past few years, illustrated by the figure above, has created a poor environment for long-term investment decisions, particularly in wind manufacturing. Dozens of manufacturing companies have already made commitments to build and upgrade U.S. facilities, despite the market’s booms and busts. These companies have created the foundation for renewing the American manufacturing sector and the U.S. could see explosive growth the instant there is a sign of market stability and U.S. commitment to long term policy.
Click here to download the full Q1 report from AWEA.