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AWEA: US wind installations surpass 90 GW in Q2'18

SNL Image
Texas led in second-quarter installations with 464 MW, followed by Illinois with 132 MW in installed capacity and Nebraska with 30 MW.
Source: Senvion

The U.S. wind market made healthy gains in the second quarter of 2018, with new research suggesting new wind energy project installations will surge between now and 2020.

Wind installations reached 626 MW in the second quarter, up from 357 MW of capacity installed in the same period in 2017 and 406 MW in the first quarter of 2018, according to a new market report from the American Wind Energy Association, or AWEA. The country's cumulative installed capacity is now 90,004 MW in 41 states, plus Puerto Rico and Guam.

The U.S. project pipeline also saw healthy growth in the second quarter, the domestic wind industry's biggest trade group and lobbying body reported. At the end of June, there was 18,987 MW of wind capacity under construction and 18,806 MW in advanced development. That combined 37,794 MW is a 46% year-over-year increase and a 13% rise from the first quarter of 2018.

"Wind power's job creating engine just kicked into a higher gear," AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan said in a July 26 statement. "And all Americans will benefit as the record number of wind farms under construction begin delivering new revenue to rural communities and affordable homegrown energy to consumers."

However, the domestic project pipeline will go down by 2,000 MW in the next quarter, after American Electric Power Co. Inc. announced on July 27 that it is canceling its $4.5 billion Wind Catcher Wind Farm due to Texas regulators' decision to reject a cost recovery plan for the project.

Upside from tax credit clarity, offshore wind

The U.S. wind industry will see heightened activity in the short-term future, while wind developers are set to utilize the production tax credit before it phases out completely after 2019.

According to MAKE Consulting, more than 30,000 MW of capacity will be installed over the next three years. Installations will take a nosedive after the boom, but interest in corporate procurement of renewables and battery storage's changing technology could be a major driver for future installations.

A domestic offshore wind industry could also create major growth for wind developers; during the second quarter, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut announced contracts for a combined 1,400 MW in offshore wind capacity, pending regulatory approval. MAKE Consulting's forecast assumes more than 5,000 MW of new offshore wind capacity will be operation by the end of 2027, "but this will require inter-state and inter-developer coordination in the first half of the next decade before a domestic supply chain can develop to stabilize the sector's volatility."