Hanna Hunt / American Wind Energy Association
The third quarter continued a productive 2017 for the U.S. wind industry, with demand for wind power surging from both traditional and new customers.
Here’s a quick recap of some of the top findings from our new U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter 2017 Market Report:
Utilities announce big wind power deals
American Electric Power (AEP), Alliant Energy, and Xcel Energy all announced plans to develop and own large-scale wind projects during the third quarter. AEP stole headlines with its 2,000 MW Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma, which will be one of the largest projects in the world once completed.
“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.”
AEP, Alliant, and Xcel Energy all highlighted wind’s low cost in their announcements and noted that it’s what their customers increasingly demand.
Fortune 500s keep pace
Six companies, including Anheuser-Busch, paper goods manufacturer Kimberly-Clark, Target, and General Motors, all signed wind power purchase agreements (PPA) during the third quarter. That means you’ll soon be able to drive a Chevy Silverado to Target to pick up some Huggies for the kids and a six-pack of Budweiser for yourself, and everything will be wind-powered.
On top of those announcements, new wind projects deployed during the third quarter include the Jeff Bezos-christened Amazon Wind Farm Texas, with power being purchased by both Amazon and Iron Mountain, and the Rocksprings wind farm in New Mexico, with power being purchased by Walmart.
The wind development pipeline is huge
Nearly 30,000 MW of wind power are now either under construction or in advanced development. That’s including close to 4,900 MW in new announcements made during the third quarter alone. That means the U.S. will soon have enough wind to power millions of additional homes. The pipeline is now the largest it’s been since we started tracking this number at the beginning of 2016.
Virginia sees its first wind development
Dominion Energy announced during the third quarter that it’s partnering with DONG Energy to develop and own a two-turbine, 12 MW wind project off the coast of Virginia Beach.
The project will advance efforts “to build a new Virginia economy that is cleaner, stronger, and more diverse,” remarked Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Virginia is looking to become the 42nd state with utility-scale wind power, continuing wind’s growth into the South after North Carolina’s first project came online at the beginning of this year.