The momentum of wind power in the U.S. has continued through the third quarter and continues to post strong numbers. This according to the new U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter 2015 Market Report released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). More than 1,600 MW of new wind capacity was installed during Q3 increasing the yearly total to more than 3,600 MW installed.
The top states with wind power capacity additions include Texas with 771 MW, Oklahoma with 398 MW, Kansas with 201 MW and Illinois with 175 MW. This quarter Kansas has jumped to 6th place and is continuing to build additional capacity. The industry is seeing stronger market activity as compared to this time last year, and given the construction activity in Iowa, the state is on pace to surpass California and become the second-ranked state behind Texas in installed capacity by the end of this year.
“We are on the cusp of greatness,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “There are over $20 billion worth of wind farms under construction right now, creating well-paying jobs and spurring economic development in rural communities across the country. This growth is in jeopardy however, as continued policy uncertainty could throw the wind industry off yet another economic cliff.”
Despite the growth in the industry, there still remains uncertainty. While the U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted in May to pass the tax extenders package that included the extension of the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit, it has yet to be passed by Congress. Wind projects currently under construction are due to in part to the construction extension of the Production Tax Credit that occurred at the end of 2014.
In 2015, the wind industry has installed more than double the MW installed during this time frame in 2014. There is now over 69,470 MW of installed wind capacity across the U.S. – edging closer to the 70 gigawatt (GW) threshold. A near-record of more than 13,250 MW of wind capacity is under construction in the U.S., with an additional 4,100 MW in advanced stages of development.
Listen to the press conference here: U.S. Wind Industry 3rd Quarter Report Launch
There were several highlights during the third quarter including breaking ground on North Carolina’s first-ever wind farm. North Carolina adds to the list of states where advanced wind turbine technology is creating what AWEA calls a “wind rush,” accessing faster, steadier winds at higher altitudes. This means they can generate more electricity affordably. Once the project is completed, it will be the largest in the Southeast, and will bring the total number of U.S. states with a commercial-scale wind farm to 40.
And just this week, Procter and Gamble announced it would buy 80 percent of the output from a 123-MW wind farm under development in Muenster, Texas. The third quarter also saw the commissioning of two utility-scale wind projects with corporate purchaser investments from Microsoft and Wal-Mart, adding to the list of successful U.S. companies choosing to invest in utility-scale wind farm projects.