Several factors made 2014 a down year for distributed wind turbines compared to 2012, though it was far superior to 2013. The factors that saw demand sink include relatively low prices for electricity, competition from other sources and high permitting and other nonmaterial costs. The report on the status of the industry was put together by U.S. Energy Information Administration based on data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Distributed Wind Market Report.
The report suggests that demand, which was concentrated in projects of more than 1 megawatt, totaled a bit over 60 mW last year. In 2013, the total was in the mid-30 mW range. Last year, the lion’s share of wind turbine capacity supported the institutional sector. The second most capacity was used by the government. The projects were in the residential (44 projects), agricultural (41), governmental (10) and industrial, commercial and institutional (9 each) sectors.
Not all the news was bad for wind energy. Microsoft contracted for 285 mW of renewable power — and got it very quickly. The contracting process, which can take as long as two years, was completed in six months in one case and six weeks in the other.