DOE Reports Highlight Strength of US Wind Energy Industry
The United States ranks second in installed wind energy capacity in the world, according to two reports released by the US Department of Energy (DOE): the “Wind Technologies Market Report” and the “Distributed Wind Market Report.” With increasing wind energy generation and decreasing prices of wind energy technologies, the US wind energy market is helping to move the United States closer to doubling renewable electricity generation from energy resources like wind power by 2020.
The “2013 Wind Technologies Market Report,” released by the DOE and its Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, describes the status of the US wind energy industry in 2013—its trends, performance, market drivers and future outlook.
After modest growth in 2013, total installed wind power capacity in the United States stands at 61 GW, which meets nearly 4.5 percent of electricity demand in an average year. Installed wind power capacity additions should be more robust in 2014 and 2015; however, the prospects for growth beyond 2015 are uncertain. The production tax credit, the industry’s primary federal support, has expired, and its renewal remains in questions, the report says. The report also found that wind energy prices are at an all-time low, with utilities selecting wind as a cost-saving option. This may boost future growth prospects.
The “2013 Distributed Wind Market Report” released by DOE and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, quantifies and summarizes the 2013 US distributed wind market. In 2013, 30.4 MW of new distributed wind capacity was added, representing nearly 2,700 units across 36 states, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. In total, US turbines in distributed applications, which accounted for more than 80 percent of all wind turbines installed in the US last year, reached a cumulative installed capacity of more than 842 MW. This capacity is supplied by roughly 72,000 turbines across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. A total of 14 states now each have more than 10 MW of distributed wind capacity.
To compensate for weaker domestic sales, US small wind turbine manufacturers shifted their focus to growing international markets. Exports from US-based small wind turbine manufacturers increased 70 percent from 8 MW in 2012 to 13.6 MW in 2013.
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