Onshore Wind Reaches Milestone

Wind turbine.

According to the December 2019 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. onshore wind capacity now exceeds 100 gigawatts. EIA noted that, “Cumulative U.S. installed onshore wind capacity exceeded 100 gigawatts (GW) on a nameplate capacity basis as of the end of September 2019….” The report went on to add that, “More than half of that amount has been installed since the beginning of 2012. The oldest wind turbines still operating in the United States came online as early as 1975.”

EIA reported that more onshore wind came online in October and November, and that an additional 7.2 GW was expected to come online in December, bringing to total to well over 100 GW. (According to EIA, the majority of onshore wind capacity tends to come online late in each year.) It added that, “EIA also expects that another 14.3 GW of wind capacity will come online in 2020. If realized, the United States would have about 122 GW of wind capacity by the end of next year.” As a result, new online wind capacity is expected to be at “record levels” in 2019 and 2020.

Currently, according to the report, 41 states have at least one installed wind turbine. However, approximately three-fourths of all onshore wind capacity in the United States is concentrated in 10 states. Texas alone accounts for over one-fourth of all onshore U.S. wind capacity. The remaining 25.1 GW are online in the other 31 states.

U.S. Wind Capacity (GW) by State
Based on September 2019 

Texas 26.9
Iowa 8.9
Oklahoma 8.1
Kansas 6.2
California 6.1
Illinois 4.8
Minnesota 3.9
Colorado 3.7
North Dakota 3.2
Oregon 3.2

Other 31 states

25.1

The huge number of projects in 2019 and anticipated in 2020 are largely the result of the “production tax credit” (PTC) that provides operators with a tax credit per kilowatt hour of renewable energy generated for the first 10 years a facility is in operation.  Facilities that begin construction after the end of 2020 cannot claim the PTC.

Stay Informed Join our Newsletter

Having trouble finding time to sit down with the latest issue of
ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR? Don't worry, we'll come to you.