In 2012, wind energy became the number one source of new US electricity generation capacity for the first time – representing 43 percent of all new electric additions and accounting for $25 billion in US investment, according to Energy Department research.
The Energy Department has released two reports: The 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report, which details the latest trends in the US wind power market, and The 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications, which looks at growth in the US distributed wind energy market.
According to the Wind Technologies report, over 13 GW of new wind power capacity were added to the US grid – nearly double the wind capacity deployed in 2011. This tremendous growth helped America’s total wind power capacity surpass 60 GW at the end of 2012 – representing enough capacity to power more than 15 million homes each year, or as many homes as in California and Washington State combined. The country’s cumulative installed wind energy capacity has increased more than 22-fold since 2000.
Colorado continues to be one of the country’s largest and fastest growing wind markets. The Wind Technologies Market Report finds that in 2012, Colorado installed 496 MW of new wind power capacity, bringing its total to about 2,300 MW. With this installed capacity, Colorado can generate about 13 percent of its electricity from wind energy, the report says.
At the same time, the proportion of wind turbine components such as towers, blades, and gears made in America has increased dramatically. The report estimates seventy-two percent of the wind turbine equipment installed in the U.S. last year was made by domestic manufacturers, nearly tripling from 25 percent in 2006-2007, the report says.
The Distributed Applications report finds that distributed wind in the US reached a 10-year cumulative installed capacity of more than 812 MW at the end of 2012 – representing more than 69,000 units across all 50 states. Between 2011 and 2012, US distributed wind capacity grew by 175 MW, with about 80 percent of this growth coming from utility-scale installations, the report says.