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New 2015 Wind Technologies Market Report Highlights Bright Picture for U.S. Wind Power Industry

2 min. read

The U.S. Department of Energy is now out with its 2015 Wind Technologies Market Report, and as David Roberts of Vox puts it, "Here’s some good news for your weekend: Wind power is kicking ass in the US."  For the summary presentation, click here, and for the full report, click here. Also, see below for some of the report's highlights (bolding added for emphasis) and a few of the most interesting graphics.

  • "Annual wind capacity additions surged in 2015, w/ significant additional new builds anticipated over next five years in part due to PTC extension."
  • "Wind has been a significant source of new electric generation capacity additions in the U.S. in recent years," with "cumulative wind capacity up 12%" in 2015 to 74 gigawatts (GW).
  • Since the beginning of the 1980s, "more than $150 billion" has been invested in U.S. wind power, with $14.5 billion invested in 2015 alone.
  • "Over [the] last decade, wind has comprised 31% of capacity additions nationwide, and a much higher proportion in some regions."
  • The U.S. is "lagging other countries [like Denmark, Portugal, Ireland and Spain] in wind as a percentage of electricity consumption."
  • The geographic spread of wind power in the U.S. is "reasonably broad," as 25 states had over 500 megawatts (MW) of capacity at the end of 2015. Still, "Texas had almost 3 times as much wind capacity as the next-highest state."
  • The wind power "[s]upply chain has been under some duress, but domestic manufacturing content for nacelle assembly, blades, and towers is strong."
  • The three largest turbine suppliers in the U.S. market -- Vestas, GE and Siemens - accounted for nearly 90% of the U.S. market in 2014.
  • "Turbine scaling is significantly boosting wind project performance, while the installed cost of wind projects has declined."
  • "Wind power sales prices remain near all-time lows, enabling economic competitiveness despite low natural gas prices...Recent turbine orders reportedly in the range of $850-$1,250/kW." Wind power prices are particularly low in the interior region.
  • "Capacity-weighted average 2000-15 O&M costs for projects built in the 1980s equal $35/MWh, dropping to $24/MWh for projects built in 1990s, to $10/MWh for projects built in the 2000s, and to $9/MWh for projects built since 2010."
  • "Recent Wind Prices Are Hard to Beat: Competitive with Expected Future Cost of Burning Fuel in Natural Gas Plants."
  • "Growth beyond current PTC cycle remains uncertain: could be blunted by declining federal tax support, expectations for low natural gas prices, and modest electricity demand growth."

Topics: Clean Economy