U.S. Wind Industry Set for Another Record Year

The U.S. wind energy industry is set to add well over 3,000 megawatts (MW) to the nation’s power generating capacity in 2007, which will top last year’s record of 2,454 MW, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said yesterday in its second quarter market report.

Some 935 MW were completed during this second quarter, AWEA said, bringing the total installed during the first half of the year to 1,059 MW. This bullish performance by the industry is tempered, however, by supply chain shortages and policy uncertainty—two barriers that are related. Wind power developers report that turbine availability is a limiting factor—in other words, there is demand for even more wind energy but companies can’t build more projects because there aren’t enough new wind turbines to buy.  

And, in turn, there aren’t enough manufacturing facilities for turbines and turbine parts in the country because the U.S. government’s intermittent policy toward renewables has discouraged companies from investing in manufacturing facilities.

“We’re seeing many new wind farms come online, and very exciting new investment in wind turbine manufacturing, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg compared to what needs to happen to meet the increasing demand for wind power,” said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. “What is critical at this juncture is for the U.S. government to put in place a full-value, long-term extension of the production tax credit (PTC) and a national renewable energy portfolio standard (RES) requiring that utilities generate more electricity from renewable sources. These policies will give the clear, big picture signal of support for renewable energy that this country urgently needs.”

The new projects completed this quarter are located in:

        • Texas (603 MW)
        • Illinois (198 MW)
        • Colorado (75 MW)
        • Iowa (36 MW)
        • New York (20 MW)
        • Minnesota (3 MW)

Texas now has over 3,000 MW installed, strengthening its position as the state with the most wind power capacity. The ranking for the top five states remains Texas (3,352MW), California (2,376MW), Iowa (967MW), Minnesota (897MW), and Washington (818MW).  

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