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United States Boasts 24 Gigawatts Of Wind Capacity Under Construction

The United States currently boasts 24 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy capacity under construction, according to the latest preliminary figures from Windpower Intelligence, a 26% increase over the same period a year earlier. 

The United States currently boasts 24 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy capacity under construction, according to the latest preliminary figures from Windpower Intelligence, a 26% increase over the same period a year earlier.

South Plains, Texas, USA
Image courtesy Vestas Wind Systems A/S

However, according to Windpower Intelligence records, only 1.5 GW has come online so far this year and a “significant acceleration” in the completion of “under construction” projects will be necessary in the second half of 2019 if the United States is to come anywhere near its recent average annual capacity addition levels. Specifically, in 2017, 7 GW of new capacity was added, followed by another 6 GW in 2018. Windpower Intelligence has estimated that 6.6 GW of additional capacity will be brought online in 2019, while the United States’ own Energy Information Administration predicted in January that 11 GW of new capacity would be brought online in 2019.

And while such a large addition to capacity would be difficult, the United States is used to seeing a flurry of activity in the final quarter, which will only be further spurred on by the looming end to the country’s Production Tax Credit for wind power.

In terms of capacity already brought online in 2019, Windpower Intelligence tracked eight large-scale projects — three in Iowa, two in Texas, and one each in Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota.

Further, according to Windpower, “Large amounts of capacity are under construction and expected online this year in Texas, Iowa, Illinois, and Oklahoma.” However, while the United States regularly boasts double-digit “under construction” capacity, it reliably only sees single-digit capacity growth each year.

Windpower Intelligence is tracking a pipeline of nearly 3.7 GW of projects which have received permitting in New Mexico, while Missouri, Wyoming, and South Dakota each have pipelines in excess of 1 GW. Across the rest of the United States, there is a further 5.8 GW of capacity in permitted-development.

Overall, however, Windpower Intelligence is tracking a US wind energy pipeline of 80 GW as being in the early stages of development — ranging from preliminary planning to the final stages of the permitting process. Further, of this 80 GW, an impressive 17.7 GW is expected to be delivered offshore. Texas, unsurprisingly, boasts the largest pipeline of projects in various stages of development, with 29 projects equalling 11.3 GW, while large pipeline of 3 or 4 GW exist in states such as Illinois, Iowa, Wyoming, South Dakota, New York, and Nebraska.

 
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