U.S. wind energy developers have 11,739 MW worth of projects under construction following one of the strongest second quarters on record in terms of capacity additions.
The industry connected 2,819 MW worth of wind power capacity to U.S. grids, a 19% jump from the capacity put into service in the second quarter of 2020.
A record 1,979 MW of wind power capacity was retired in the second quarter. The retirements are a sign of the industry's maturity as wind fleets age, and they also present a market opportunity for turbine manufacturers to sell repowering packages.
The U.S. now has 126,997 MW of cumulative wind power capacity, following a record year in 2020 when the nation added 13.8 GW. Wind power is the dominant source of renewable energy in the U.S., and it is helping to drive the transformation of the nation's power grid away from fossil fuels. The turning point occurred in 2020 when renewable energy became the second-most prevalent source of electricity behind natural gas.
The U.S. wind power project pipeline stands at 62,533 MW of capacity under development through 2025, according to newly compiled S&P Global Market Intelligence data. Along with the projects under construction, that includes 8,658 MW of capacity in advanced development, 35,781 MW in early development and 6,354 MW of announced projects. By comparison, the U.S. solar power project pipeline stands at 120,850 MW through 2025, including 17,428 MW of projects under construction.
Wyoming leads the nation in wind projects in advanced development or under construction, with 5,245 MW of capacity in the late project stages. Texas comes in second, with 3,488 MW of such projects. Virginia is third with 2,640 MW.
Apex Clean Energy Inc., a Charlottesville, Va.-based developer, remains the largest owner of planned wind energy installations, with 7,959 MW of projects under development. Most of that capacity, 7,468 MW, are projects that were announced or in early development; the remaining 491 MW are in advanced development or under construction.
Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy Inc. has a project pipeline of 5,282 MW, including 2,492 MW of projects in advanced development or under construction. Invenergy LLC of Chicago came in third, with 4,789 MW of projects in development, including 1,927 MW in advanced development or under construction.
Corporate America continues to drive project activity.
The 492-MW Maverick Creek Wind Project in central Texas was the largest project completed in the quarter. General Mills Inc. signed a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement in 2019 for renewable energy credits associated with the project. Renewable Energy Systems Holdings Ltd. and Steelhead Americas LLC, a North American development arm of Vestas Wind Systems A/S, formed a joint venture to develop Maverick Creek. In August 2019, Renewable Energy Systems announced an agreement with Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. to develop the project with General Mills' financing. Liberty Power Group, a subsidiary of Algonquin, operates the wind farm.
Detroit-based DTE Energy Co.'s 383.5-MW Isabella Wind Project in Isabella County, Mich., was the second-largest wind project to come online in the second quarter. Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and the University of Michigan purchase power from Isabella Wind as part of DTE's voluntary renewable energy program that allows customer subscribers to support such projects.