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$96B in wind investments planned for next 4 years

U.S. wind developers have proposed to invest $96 billion in new wind power plants over the next four years, according to an SNL Energy analysis of projects already in the planning stages. This is the largest investment scheduled among gas, solar and wind projects in the same time frame.

There are 49 GW of wind projects scheduled to come online between 2017 and 2020, and an analysis of reported and estimated costs shows a resulting potential $96 billion in investment if all the projects are built. Over the past four years, almost 23 GW of wind projects were built, requiring an investment of $44 billion.

According to SNL Energy's analysis of reported and estimated costs, already-planned U.S. wind projects could cost an average of $1.95 million/MW between 2017 and 2020, roughly the same as the $1.94 million/MW average project cost seen from 2013 to 2016.

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Investment looking up

The largest share of forward-looking wind investment is located within the Southwest Power Pool, with $24 billion planned over the next four years. This is an 87% increase from the 2013-2016 period's investment amount of $13 billion.

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The second-largest share of investment is found in the Midcontinent ISO territory, with $20 billion planned over the next four years. This is up from $7 billion in the previous four years.

Notably, areas outside an ISO could see the largest increase in investment, from $3 billion in the past four years to over $16 billion in the next four. These areas will see an average project cost of $1.98 million/MW in the 2017-2020 period.

Project costs fluctuate by region

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Looking at wind project costs by region from the past four years to the next four, ISO New England shows the largest change, with a drop of $240,000/MW. The largest increase is seen in areas outside of an ISO, with an increase of $168,000/MW in project cost.

Notably, the SPP region will likely keep about the same dollar-per-megawatt project costs period-over-period, with a potential increase of $38,000/MW.

SNL Energy is an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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For additional project and construction cost data, download the Power plant projects template.