North America Solar and Wind Power Installed Capacity Already Growing in 2016

The 150-MW EDF Renewables Slate Creek Wind Farm in Kansas and the 150-MW Pattern Operations Fowler Ridge IV Wind Farm in Indiana are tied for the largest renewable energy projects that went online in North America in January 2016. Seven other solar and wind projects went live in North America in January for a total of 747 MW of installed renewable energy capacity. The largest solar project that went online last month was SunPower’s Quinto Solar Project in California.

“This is an interesting year for solar and wind,” said Kent Knutson, Director of Hub Services at Generation Hub, the organization that tracks installed power capacity. “We’re tracking a tremendous number of projects — more than 32 GW with a 2016 online year,” he said.

In addition to the 747 MW of renewable energy capacity that went online in January, 863 MW of capacity is under construction and more than 50 percent complete, according to the Hub data.  Of those 863 MWs only 154 MW are for wind energy, both of which are owned by PNE Wind and located in Oklahoma.  The largest solar project under construction and nearing completion, according to Generation Hub, is First Solar’s Stateline Solar project in California.

“Given the recent tax credit extensions I would expect a lot of the solar will get pushed. The sense of urgency with the ITC extended an additional three years gives developers more time,” said Knutson, adding “on the other hand, wind projects will need to have a shovel in the ground by the end of December to take full advantage of the PTC before it starts phasing back over the next several years.”

Lead image: EDF selected Mortenson Construction to construct the Slate Creek Wind Farm in Gueda, Kansas. Credit: Mortenson Construction.

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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