Seven U.S. states will soon build enough wind turbines to more than double their wind capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) newly released U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter 2018 Market Report.
Nationally, the low cost and reliability of wind power continued to drive strong industry growth in the third quarter. The seven states with enough wind projects under construction or in advanced stages of development to more than double their capacity are:
- Land-based: Arkansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Wyoming
- Offshore: Maryland and Massachusetts
“The wind is always blowing in the U.S. and the latest wind turbine technology helps affordably and reliably put more of that natural resource to work,” said Tom Kiernan, chief executive officer of AWEA. “With projects under way in over 30 states, wind is rapidly expanding as a major source of American energy, good jobs and clean air.”
Additionally, wind turbines are growing more powerful and efficient at delivering low-cost, clean energy, AWEA says. Longer blades are helping turbines capture more of the wind resource blowing past. New wind farms also leverage big data and machine learning to improve power output and reduce downtime by anticipating maintenance problems before they arise. These advances drive down costs and translate into major efficiency gains.
The average utility-scale wind turbine installed in 2017 was rated at 2.32 MW, enough to power over 750 American homes for a full year. In the third quarter, new orders for wind turbines include land-based turbines above 4 MW for the first time, which are capable of powering 1,400 homes a year. To put the significance of this technological advance in context, only two operating land-based wind farms currently use turbines rated above 3.5 MW.
U.S. wind farms represent a total 90,550 MW of electricity generating capacity, with 612 MW installed in the third quarter of 2018.
There is a strong near-term wind farm pipeline comprised of 37,965 MW of capacity. These farms are either actively under construction or have entered advanced stages of development through a major milestone such as placing a turbine order or finding a buyer for their power. During the third quarter, projects totaling 2,180 MW started construction and a further 2,327 MW entered advanced development.
Wind power’s low and stable prices continued to drive strong demand from utilities and corporate customers in the third quarter. Over the last several years, non-utility customers have become a major source of demand for wind power. In just three quarters of 2018, non-utility customers signed contracts for more wind power capacity than any other year. That includes 945 MW purchased by customers including first-time buyers Smucker’s, Boston University, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Cumulatively, non-utility purchases of wind power capacity in the U.S. have exceeded 10,000 MW.
Utilities signed contracts for 1,522 MW of wind capacity in the third quarter, including the largest procurement of U.S. offshore wind to-date from the 800-MW Vineyard Wind project by Eversource Energy, National Grid and Unitil.
AWEA, the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry, represents 1,000 member companies and over 100,000 jobs in the U.S. economy.