The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said Oct. 27 that 895 MW of wind energy was installed in the third quarter and more than 20 GW of new wind capacity is now under construction or in advanced development.
AWEA said in its third quarter report update that wind project developers reported 13,563 MW under construction across the United States and 6,717 MW in advanced development, which combined is a near-record 20,280 MW of additional wind capacity coming soon.
The wind industry installed 895 MW during the third quarter of 2016, bringing year-to-date installations to 1,725 MW. Wind projects came online in seven states during the third quarter: Texas, Minnesota, Maine, Rhode Island, Oregon, Massachusetts and Utah.
An already strong pipeline of projects was augmented in the third quarter by 2,501 MW of new construction announcements and 1,216 MW of wind entering advanced development.
Wind power supplied over 35% of Iowa’s electricity generation on a 12-month rolling average from the end of August 2015 through the end of August 2016, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The billions of dollars in wind development currently underway in Iowa and the Midwest are possible because of investments in transmission in recent years. These lines are called the multi-value projects because they improve electric reliability, reduce electric bills for consumers, and allow new renewable resources to connect to the power system, AWEA said.
The Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission lines in Texas are another example of infrastructure investments paying off, AWEA said.
“The unprecedented five-year extension of the Production Tax Credit at the end of last year was a beacon of certainty for our industry, and ended the boom-bust cycles we’ve previously weathered,” said Chris Brown, AWEA Board Chairman and President of Vestas Americas.”
Project developers signed 729 MW of power purchase agreements (PPA) during the third quarter. PPAs are long-term contracts for the purchase of energy, in this case from a wind power project.
Non-utility purchasers of wind energy, including Fortune 500 companies like Amazon, Johnson & Johnson and Target, represent 33% of total project capacity contracted for the year. Combined utilities and non-utilities have signed PPAs totaling 3,193 MW so far this year, a 39% increase in activity compared to the same time period last year.
Wind energy provided 5.36% of the nation’s electricity for the last 12 months ending in July.