The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released three wind energy market report which stated that as wind installations continue to grow in the country, with offshore projects moving beyond planning process, technology costs and wind energy prices continue to fall.

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Image: US DOE says wind market is strong. Photo: Courtesy of Albert Lazcano/FreeImages.com

The reports cover three market sectors: land-based utility scale, distributed, and offshore wind.

Highlights from this past year include larger, more powerful wind turbines and lower technology costs and wind power prices for on land and offshore applications, as well as US distributed wind capacity crossing the 1GW threshold.

The 2017 Wind Technologies Market Report, prepared by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found the following:

The US wind industry installed 7.017GW of capacity last year, bringing total utility-scale wind capacity to nearly 89GW.

In total, 41 states operated utility-scale wind projects. Texas leads the nation with over 22GW of wind capacity, while Oklahoma, Iowa, California, and Kansas have more than 5GW.

Another 13 states have more than 1GW.

In 2017, wind energy contributed 6.3% of the nation’s electricity supply, more than 10% of total generation in 14 states, and more than 30% in four of those states—Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

Bigger turbines with longer blades are enhancing wind plant performance. Wind projects built in the past few years have seen capacity factors increase by 79% compared to projects installed from 1998 to 2001.

The average installed cost of wind projects in 2017 was $1,611 per kilowatt (kW), down 33% from the peak in 2009–2010.

The US wind industry supported more than 105,000 jobs and saw $11bn invested in new wind plants in 2017.

The 2017 Distributed Wind Market Report, prepared by DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, highlights the following:

In total, US wind turbines in distributed applications reached a cumulative installed capacity of 1.07GW. This capacity comes from roughly 81,000 turbines installed across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam.

In 2017, Iowa, Ohio, and California led the nation in new distributed wind capacity installed as a result of large-scale turbines installed by commercial and industrial facilities and electricity distribution utilities.

35% of distributed wind projects installed in 2017 were at homes, and 25% were agricultural installations.

US manufacturers of small wind turbines and their supply chain vendors are located in 27 states.

Between 2015 and 2017, US-based small wind turbine manufacturers accounted for more than $226m in export sales.

The 2017 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Update, prepared by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, found the following:

The US offshore wind industry recently took a leap forward as commercial-scale projects were competitively selected in Massachusetts (800MW), Rhode Island (400MW), and Connecticut (200MW).

New York, New Jersey, and Maryland also have offshore wind projects in the development pipeline.

The US offshore wind project pipeline has reached a total of 25.464GW of capacity across 13 states, including the 30MW Block Island Wind Farm commissioned in 2016.

In Europe—where most offshore wind development has occurred to date—recent offshore wind project auctions have continued the trend of developers committing to lower electricity prices for projects that will be operating in the 2020s.

New offshore wind turbines are being developed with 10–12MW of capacity (compared to an average capacity of 2.3MW for land-based turbines and 5.3MW for offshore wind turbines installed in 2017). As a result, demand is increasing for specialized ships that will be able to install these very large turbines in US waters.

About 60% of the US offshore wind resource lies in deep waters. Developing a project in deep waters requires wind turbines on floating foundations.

In the US, floating offshore wind projects have been proposed off the coasts of Maine, California, and Hawaii.

Source: Company Press Release