The US wind industry posted its second strongest quarter ever in the fourth quarter of 2015, with more installations than in all of 2014.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, which published its results in its US Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2015 Market Report this week, the US wind industry installed 8,598 MW during 2015, the third largest amount ever installed in a year, and a 77% increase over 2014. Specifically, the fourth quarter was the second strongest quarter ever recorded, installing 5,001 MW — in fact, developers installed more capacity during the fourth quarter than they did through the first three quarters of the year combined.
This means that at the end of 2015, the US has 74,472 MW of installed wind capacity.
Maybe even better news from the report is that this growth is trending to continue, thanks to the bipartisan vote in the US Congress for a multi-year extension of the Production Tax Credit, providing much needed policy certainty to an industry which has suffered several years of just the opposite.
In support of this political certainty and trending growth, as of the beginning of 2016, there was 9,400 MW already under construction, and another 4,900 MW in advanced stages of development.
“The data released today show 2016 presents an extraordinary opportunity for American wind power,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the AWEA. “The time has never been better for states and utilities to lock in low-cost, stably-priced wind energy to achieve their Clean Power Plan carbon reductions. Wind energy is on track to supplying 20% of the country’s electricity by 2030.”
According to the AWEA, “American ingenuity and over 500 wind-related manufacturing facilities across 43 states” is responsible for the cost of wind power dropping by 66% in just six years, despite several years of dramatic polity uncertainty. In combination with the extension of the Production Tax Credit and its partner Investment Tax Credit, the AWEA believes that the US wind industry is “on the path to further advance wind turbine technology and lower its costs.”
“Low-cost, stably-priced wind energy is a ‘no-regrets’ solution for states and utilities looking for the best way to meet the Clean Power Plan,” continued Kiernan. “Texas ranchers and Iowa farmers know wind power costs one-third as much as it did six years ago. Analysis by the Energy Information Administration confirms that wind energy will make up the majority of states’ lowest-cost Clean Power Plan strategy.”
“Having policy certainty with the tax credits in place overcomes one challenge, but others still exist, including availability of the necessary power lines. New transmission can act as a renewable energy superhighway, delivering low-cost wind energy from rural areas to densely-populated US cities where it’s needed the most.”
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