The total volume of US wind power construction and development activity grew to record levels in the first quarter of 2019, according to new figures published by the American Wind Energy Association, growing by 6,146 megawatts (MW).
According to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2019 Market Report, US wind project developers announced new wind farms in the first quarter worth a total of 6,146 MW — more capacity than all of the currently operational wind farms in California. The surge in first-quarter development brings the US construction and advanced development pipeline to a record-breaking 39,161 MW — an 11% increase over the previous quarter.
Further, eight US states are now on track to double their installed wind capacity with in-development and -construction projects.
“With nearly 40,000 MW in development, America’s largest source of renewable energy generating capacity is on a path to grow by 40 percent in the near term,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “In doing so, we’ll create thousands of additional American jobs and new economic opportunities for factory towns and rural communities across the country.”
The breakdown of US wind development sees 17,213 MW under construction across 21 states at the end of the first quarter, unsurprisingly led by Texas which boasted 6,528 MW of wind under construction, 1,255 MW of which is new this year. A further 21,949 MW was reported by project developers as being in advanced development, another record for the industry.
With all this capacity under development, the United States’ first-quarter completion was, therefore, a little lower than might have been hoped for, with 841 MW of new capacity coming online in the first quarter — led by Iowa, which brought 563 MW online during the first quarter. This brings the United States’ total installed wind capacity up to 97,233 MW.
The AWEA also highlighted the growing demand for clean energy Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Specifically, according to the report, the first quarter of 2019 saw 2,717 MW of wind PPAs signed, the second strongest volume of PPAs since the AWEA begin tracking procurement activity. Utilities signed contracts totaling 2,694 MW, and announced plans to build and own a further 1,049 MW of wind.
The majority of the United States wind development is found on land, but the country’s offshore wind industry continues to show signs of continued growth, and the first quarter was no different, thanks in part to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to increase the state’s offshore wind goal to 9 gigawatts (GW) by 2035 — up from the previous target of 2,400 MW. In addition, National Grid filed for approval for a 20-year contract to buy 400 MW from the Revolution Wind project at a fixed price of $98 per megawatt-hours (MWh), the second offshore wind PPA to come in under the $100/MWh mark. New York also received bids from four offshore developers in response to its first solicitation of at least 800 MW — a tender which will award the winner in Spring.
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