US Wind Energy Pipeline Nears 30 Gigawatts

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The American Wind Energy Association published a new report which revealed the country’s current pipeline of wind energy projects under construction or in advanced development as of the end of the third quarter reached 29,634 MW, a 27% year-over-year growth and on track to provide 10% of America’s electricity by 2020 alongside $85 billion in economic activity and 50,000 new jobs.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) published its US Wind Industry Third Quarter 2017 Market Report this week, which is designed to provide a current snapshot of the current state of the US wind energy industry, revealing activity and trends, as well as new wind capacity installed, wind projects under construction and in advanced development, and new power purchase agreement signings and project acquisition activity.

The big news from the third quarter report was the state of the US wind energy project pipeline, which is nearing 30 gigawatts (GW) with the total number of wind energy projects currently under construction or in advanced stages of development reaching 29,634 megawatts (MW) as of the end of the third quarter of 2017 — made up of 13,759 MW under construction and 15,875 MW in advanced development. Since AWEA only started measuring this statistic at the beginning of 2016, we don’t have super long growth trends, but the third quarter figure is nevertheless up 27% year-over-year.

US Wind Power Capacity Installations, by Quarter

“Wind power’s value to investors, utilities and corporate purchasers is clear: fixed-cost clean energy at competitive prices,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “The high level of wind under construction and in advanced development shows we are on track to deliver 10% of America’s electricity by 2020, along with $85 billion in economic activity and 50,000 new jobs.”

New third quarter pipeline activity reached 4,248 MW worth of new capacity entering advanced development and another 638 MW beginning construction. Further, developers installed 534 MW during the third quarter, bringing the cumulative installed capacity for 2017 up to 2,892 MW, and total cumulative wind capacity in the United States up to 84,944 MW.

US Annual and Cumulative Wind Power Capacity Growth

During the third quarter, four separate US states together deployed 243 wind turbines across five project phases. Texas led the way, installing 402 MW, followed by Indiana which installed 100 MW, New Mexico which installed 30 MW, and California which only managed 2 MW for the quarter. Regarding wind capacity under construction or in advanced development, 30% of combined activity is located in the Midwest, with an additional 23% located in Texas, followed by 20% in the Mountain West states and 18% in the Plains states. Cumulative capacity per state looks like this:

US Installed Wind Power Capacity, by State

During the third quarter, utilities announced plans to develop and own a total of 3,040 MW worth of wind capacity, bringing the cumulative total of utility announcements up to 8,840 MW since the beginning of 2016 — with four separate utilities accounting for 94% of this activity.

One of the announcements made during the third quarter was the massive 2,000 MW Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma which we covered back in July being developed by American Electric Power’s (AEP), and Alliant Energy’s new 500 MW New Wind II project in Iowa.

“There’s a rebalancing of the generation resources, not only in our company but in this country, that’s going on,” said Nick Akins, the chief executive of AEP. “This project is consistent with our strategy of investing in the energy resources of the future, and it will save our customers money while providing economic benefits to communities.”

Doug Kopp, President of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility, said, “The goal of this project is to bring additional low-cost, clean energy to our customers and the State of Iowa.”

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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