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News » US » Construction of US wind farms hits record rate » published 31 Jul 2018

Construction of US wind farms hits record rate

A record amount of wind energy capacity is under construction across the US according to latest figures from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

Strong demand for low-cost wind power from utilities and other buyers, including major corporations such as AT&T and Walmart, continues to drive the industry’s growth, said the AWEA.

“Wind power’s job creating engine just kicked into a higher gear,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “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.”

AWEA’s US Wind Industry Second Quarter 2018 Market Report shows that wind farms totaling 5,322MW started construction during the second quarter of 2018, bringing total construction activity to 18,987MW. A single new American wind turbine represents 2.32MW of capacity on average, roughly enough to power 750 typical homes.

Beyond projects currently under construction, another 3,901 MW of new wind power capacity entered advanced development.

The US wind industry installed 626MW in the quarter, bringing year-to-date installations to 1,032MW. Those installations mean that capacity passed 90,000MW nationally. AWEA said tha the 90,004MW of total installed wind capacity is capable of generating enough affordable, clean electricity to power over 27 million average homes.

Wind farm developers signed 1,524 MW of power purchase agreements (PPA) during the second quarter, and the overall volume of wind capacity under contract through PPAs is up 44% compared to the first half of 2017. Corporate customers including AT&T, Grupo Bimbo, Walmart, and Merck & Co accounted for 56% contracted capacity in the quarter, with utilities accounting for the remainder.

Utilities also announced plans to add 1,491MW of wind capacity under direct ownership, including MidAmerican’s 591MW Wind XII project in Iowa and Ameren Missouri’s 400MW High Prairie project in Missouri.

Momentum for offshore wind power is also growing. In May and June, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut selected competitive bids representing 1,400MW of offshore wind capacity for development. Project developers are now working out PPA terms with utilities.  

 

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This article was published on 31 Jul 2018 (last updated on 31 Jul 2018).

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