The US wind industry added 520 MW in the first quarter of 2016, its most productive first quarter since 2012, with another 2 GW in construction.
This brings the country’s total capacity in construction to 10,100 MW, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) US Wind Industry First Quarter 2016 Market Report, published Thursday.
“Our productive first quarter reflects the strength of American wind power entering 2016. We have a low-cost product that’s in high demand,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the AWEA. “As the wind business builds momentum, we’re prepared to double wind’s contribution to America’s electricity supply in the next five years.”
Across the entire country, including Puerto Rico and, for the first time, Guam, there are now more than 48,000 wind turbines operating, over 40 states, generating the equivalent electricity of the demand from 20 million average households. Total capacity currently sits at 74,512 MW, thanks to the introduction of seven new projects across six states that reached completion in the first quarter. Oklahoma led the country with 270 MW of new wind capacity, followed by Iowa with 154 MW, Utah with 62 MW, and New Mexico with 32 MW.
In terms of projects under construction, a total of 10,000 MW is currently in the construction stage, with another 5,100 MW nearing construction.
Unsurprisingly, Texas remains the market-leading state, accounting for over 54% of construction underway in the US during the first quarter. Following was the Plains region, made up of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, with 18% of construction activity, followed by the Midwest with 12%.
The authors of the report were also quick to point out that project developers and manufacturers are investing in new technologies to produce wind turbines that reach steadier, more powerful winds, at greater heights. This desire for new technology was paramount for the 154 MW Adams wind farm, completed in the first quarter by Iowa-based energy company MidAmerican Energy, using one prototype wind turbine which was designed by Siemens, which uses an innovative concrete tower design to reach heights of approximately 115 meters, and with a rotor diameter of 108 meters.
“This is the first concrete tower project for Siemens in North America, we’re proud to say the tower technology was conceived, designed, engineered, and constructed entirely in the United States,” said Michael McManus, Head of Business Development and Strategy for Siemens Americas Onshore Wind. “This project marks another milestone in our successful partnership with MidAmerican Energy to expand clean, renewable wind power in Iowa, and demonstrates Siemens’ continuous dedication to innovation to drive down the cost of wind energy around the globe.”
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