Despite grim predictions at the close of 2008, the U.S. wind power industry experienced yet another record year in 2009, once again surpassing even optimistic growth projections from years past.
Despite grim predictions at the close of 2008, the U.S. wind power industry experienced yet another record year in 2009, once again surpassing even optimistic growth projections from years past. At the same time, the combination of the financial crisis and lower wholesale electricity prices has taken a toll on the wind power industry, dampening expectations for 2010. Key findings from this year’s “Wind Technologies Market Report” include:
- Wind Power Additions in 2009 Shattered Old Records, with roughly 10 GW of New Capacity Added in the United States and $21 Billion Invested.
- Wind Power Contributed 39% of All New U.S. Electric Generating Capacity in 2009.
- The United States Continued to Lead the World in Cumulative Wind Power Capacity, but Was Overtaken by China in Annual Additions.
- Texas Achieved Higher Annual Capacity Additions than Other States, While Four States Have Surpassed 10% Wind Energy Penetration.
- Offshore Wind Power Project and Policy Developments Accelerated in 2009.
- Data from Interconnection Queues Demonstrate that an Enormous Amount of Wind Power Capacity Is Under Consideration.
- GE Remained the Top Turbine Manufacturer in the United States Market, but a Growing Number of Other Manufacturers Are Capturing Market Share.
- Domestic Wind Turbine and Component Manufacturing Investments Remained Strong in 2009, but the Financial Crisis and Weak Turbine Sales Slowed the Sector’s Growth.
- A Growing Percentage of the Equipment Used in U.S. Wind Power Projects Has Been Sourced Domestically in Recent Years.
- The Average Nameplate Capacity, Hub Height, and Rotor Diameter of Installed Wind Turbines Increased.
- The Average Size of Wind Power Projects Resumed its Upward Trend.
- Consolidation Among Wind Project Developers Continues.
- Treasury Cash Grant Expands Financing Options, Buoys the Wind Sector.
- Private IPP Project Ownership Remained Dominant, but Utility Ownership Increased.
- Long-Term Contracted Sales to Utilities Remained the Most Common Sales Arrangement, but Merchant Plants Were Surprisingly Abundant in 2009.
- Upward Pressure on Wind Power Prices Continued in 2009.
- Sharp Drop in Wholesale Electricity Prices Makes the Near-Term Economics of Wind Energy More Challenging.
- The Installed Cost of Wind Power Projects Continued to Rise in 2009, but Reductions May Be on the Horizon.
- Wind Turbine Prices Have Begun to Show Signs of Easing, but Remain High By Historical Standards.
- Wind Project Performance Has Generally Improved Over Time, but Has Leveled Off in Recent Years.
- Operations and Maintenance Costs Are Affected by the Age and Size of the Project, Among Other Factors.
- The Federal Policy Landscape Is Now More Favorable to Wind Energy than at Any Other Time in the Past Decade.
- State Policies Play a Significant Role in Directing the Location and Amount of Wind Power Development.
- Despite Progress on Overcoming Transmission Barriers, Constraints Remain.
- Integrating Wind Energy into Power Systems Is Manageable, but Not Free of Costs, and Market Operators Are Implementing Methods to Accommodate Increased Penetration.
Click here to read the full report.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy