At the end of 2013 there were more U.S. wind power megawatts under construction than ever in history: Over 12,000 MW of new generating capacity was under construction, with a record-breaking 10,900 MW starting construction activity during the fourth quarter. At least 60 PPAs for nearly 8,000 MW were signed by utilities and corporate purchasers, of which 5,200 MW have not yet started construction. The U.S. wind industry installed 1,084 MW during 2013, with 1,012 MW installed during the fourth quarter alone.
AWEA releases U.S. Wind Industry Quarterly Market Reports every quarter to provide a snapshot view of U.S. wind industry activity, including new wind projects, wind capacity installed, wind projects under constructions, and power purchase agreements. Wind project details in the quarterly report include project owner, turbine manufacturer, project size, and power purchaser.
2013 installation details
• Following the late extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) plus the historic level of installations in the fourth quarter of 2012, the U.S. wind industry installed 1.6 megawatts (MW) of new capacity during the first quarter of 2013 and 0 MW during the second quarter of 2013. During the third quarter, the U.S. wind industry installed 68.3 MW through the completion of projects in Alaska, California and Colorado. The fourth quarter of 2013 saw the most activity with 1,012.4 MW completed across Kansas, California, Michigan, Texas, New York, Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, Massachussetts and Indiana.
• Total wind power capacity installations for 2013 were 1,084 MW. This represents a 92% reduction from the record-setting 13,131 MW installed during 2012 and this drop-off can be attributed to the late extension of the PTC and ITC.
• There are now 61,108 MW of installed wind capacity in the United States. This is enough to power over 15.3 million homes.
Wind power construction activity
• At the end of 2013 there were more U.S. wind power MW under construction than ever in history: more than 10,900 MW started construction activity during the fourth quarter and more than 12,000 MW are currently under construction. When completed, these 90+ projects will generate enough electricity annually to power 3.5 million households.
• Projects are currently under construction in at least 20 states. There are more than 7,000 MW under construction in Texas – more MW than any other state currently has installed. The second most MW are under construction in Iowa (1,050 MW). Other top states for construction activity include Kansas (722 MW), North Dakota (632 MW), Michigan (342 MW) and New Mexico (317 MW).
• Of the projects under construction, at least 3,770 MW of wind energy projects have long-term power offtake agreements in place through long-term PPAs or direct utility ownership. Given the high number of projects under construction in Texas, a large percentage of the projects under construction are merchant capacity on ERCOT. Additional wind energy capacity has secured long-term power offtake agreements but has not yet started construction.
• Construction activity is primarily focused in the interior region, from North Dakota down through Texas. The late 2013 completion of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission lines in the Panhandle and Western parts of Texas has spurred wind development in the state. According to the main Texas grid operator, ERCOT, 6,947 MW of proposed projects have signed interconnection agreements and a total of 24,000 MW of proposed wind projects have applied to connect to the ERCOT grid. The response to the opening of such high quality wind resource has been so overwhelming that even though the CREZ grid upgrades were just completed, the grid operator is already exploring addtitional transmission expansions to facilitate more wind energy development in the Panhandle.
Wind power purchase agreements
• At least 60 power purchase agreements (PPAs) have been signed or announced this year, totaling nearly 8,000 MW. These projects are spread across 18 states.
• Corporate purchasers such as Google and Microsoft continue to invest in wind power, with both technology-giants signing long-term PPAs for projects that will power their Texas data centers.
• Utilities, large and small, looking to take advantage of historical low prices for wind energy, diversify their fuel portfolios, and hedge against future fuel volatility have signed a record number of long-term contracts. Smaller utilities signing contracts include 67 municipal utilities in Missouri acting through a state-wide joint action agency or the 12 community members of the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency. Investor-owned utilities are capitalizing on the PTC extension too. Xcel Energy signed nearly 1,900 MW of wind PPAs across three subsidiaries. AEP subsidiaries signed 800 MW of PPAs for projects in Indiana and Oklahoma. Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) also was one of the top signatories of wind contracts in 2013. The utility will purchase the output from 600 MW of projects in Nebraska starting in 2014.
• Of the 8,000 MW of PPAs signed in 2013, 5,200 MW have yet to start construction.
Turbine orders & master supply agreements
• There are now over 5,600 MW of turbine orders placed with major manufacturing facilities active in places such as Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota.
• U.S. manufacturing production capacity has ramped up dramatically, and the largest turbine order in history of the U.S. wind industry was placed in the Fourth Quarter.
Wind power costs
• The cost of wind energy has fallen by 43% in just four years, due to investments in technolgoical advancements and stable policy.
• “In many parts of the country today, including the impact of the PTC, wind is the most economic form of new energy generation.”
– Moray P. Dewhurst, Vice Chairman, Chief Financial Officer and Excecutive Vice President of NextEra Energy on January 28, 2014 Earnings Call
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