Following are several key findings from the 2016 Wind Technologies Market Report and the Distributed Wind Market Report by the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory:
Utility-scale wind installations stand at more than 82 GW, enough to meet about 6.2 percent of U.S. end-use electricity demand in an average year.
In total, 40 states and Puerto Rico operated utility-scale wind projects in 2016; utility-scale wind came online in North Carolina in early 2017.
In 2016, Illinois added 184 MW of new utility-scale wind capacity, bringing its total to 4,026 MW.
The report also finds that wind energy continues to be sold at attractive prices through power purchase agreements, making this renewable energy source cost-competitive with traditional power sources such as natural gas in many parts of the U.S, especially when wind energy is sold at a fixed price over 20 years.
The report also shows the impact of growing the American workforce, currently supporting 101,738 jobs related to project development, siting, turbine manufacturing, transportation, and other sectors—an increase of 32 percent from 2015.
Key findings from the 2016 Distributed Wind Market Report by the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory:
Compared with traditional, centralized power plants, which send power over transmission lines to distant end-users, distributed wind energy installations supply power directly to homes, farms, businesses, and communities. In total, U.S. wind turbines in distributed applications reached a cumulative installed capacity of 992 MW.
This capacity comes from roughly 77,000 turbines installed across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Turbines used in these applications can range from a few hundred watts to several megawatts. This helps power remote, off-grid homes and farms, as well as local schools and manufacturing facilities.
Illinois ranks 3rd nationwide in USDA REAP grants for wind projects, with $4.1 million awarded since 2003. REAP provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.
U.S. manufacturers continued to dominate domestic sales of small wind turbines (up through 100 kilowatts), and half of U.S. small wind turbine manufacturers also export their products to other countries.
Between 2014 and 2016, U.S.-based small wind turbine manufacturers accounted for more than $240 million in small wind turbine export sales.
The key findings from the 2016 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report include:
In December 2016, Deepwater Wind completed the commissioning of the Block Island Wind Farm, marking a milestone as the first commercial offshore wind project in the U.S.
The U.S. offshore wind project development pipeline includes over 20 projects totaling 24,135 MW of potential installed capacity. Most of the near-term activity is concentrated in the Atlantic off the Northeast coast, but projects have been proposed in the Southeast Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes.
Of the U.S. projects in deeper waters, where traditional bottom-mounted technologies are not feasible, proposed floating offshore wind projects now total 1,993 MW of announced capacity.
News of the declining costs for offshore wind projects in Europe spurred confidence in the domestic U.S. offshore wind market over the past year. Several states including Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland have enacted new policy or bolstered their existing policy to support the development of over 4,000 MW of offshore wind.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, American wind energy almost doubled from about 120 million megawatt hours generated in 2011 to more than 226 million megawatt hours in 2016, which represents about 6 percent of U.S. electricity generation.