Wind Power Taking the United States by Storm

Renewable industries have registered steady growth for several years. 2015 and the first part of 2016 have been no exception. Wind power has made great gains.

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the first quarter of 2016 was the most productive first quarter of installations for the industry since 2012.

The AWEA’s “U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2016 Market Report,” released in April, reveals that the industry added 520 megawatts (MW) of new electric generating capacity to the power grid from January through March of this year. Turbines were installed at seven projects across six states.

According to the report, there are more than 48,800 wind turbines operating in 40 states plus Puerto Rico and, for the first time, Guam. That is enough to power 20 million homes with 74,512 MW of total installed capacity.

The winds are expected to keep blowing because more installations are on the way. The AWEA reports construction started on another 2,000 MW during the quarter, bringing the total wind capacity currently under construction to more than 10,100 MW. Another 5,100 MW are reportedly in advanced stages of development and nearing construction.

In a state-by-state breakdown, Oklahoma led the country during the quarter, with 270 MW of wind capacity installations. Iowa, Utah and New Mexico followed close behind with 154 MW, 62 MW and 32 MW of installation, respectively.

All signs point to more growth in the future. According to another report, the AWEA’s “2015 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report,” the cost of wind power has fallen by two-thirds since 2009. That kind of depreciation only fuels more demand.                   

Tom Kiernan, CEO of the AWEA, said “as the wind business builds momentum, we’re prepared to double wind’s contribution to America’s electricity supply in the next five years.” He said the industry expects to supply 10 percent of U.S. electricity demand by 2020 and to double again to reach 20 percent by 2030.

About the Author

Rick Laezman

Freelance Writer

Rick Laezman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached at richardlaezman@msn.com.

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