The U.S wind industry say that, in August, it surpassed 50,000 megawatts of power generation capacity. This is largely accredited to the record number of wind turbines being installed this year. Last week, the industry group reported that it is generating enough capacity to power 13 million homes.
So far, in 2012, wind developers have added 4,728 MW of clean energy and have 8,430 MW of wind power under construction across 29 states and Puerto Rico.
While wind production is up and on pace to become the strongest year ever, the group is worried this trend could come to a screeching halt… if the federal production tax credit for renewable energy expires at the year-end.
The credit has been in place since 2005 and helps in creating more than $15 billion a year in U.S. wind farm investments.
“This is what a successful policy looks like when it’s working, but whether wind will continue to be a bright spot in the U.S. economy now depends on whether Congress acts to extend the production tax credit by the end of the year,” Denise Bode, chief executive of AWEA, said in a release.
A proposal to extend the credit for projects that start construction next year won bipartisan support from the Senate Finance Committee on August 2, as part of an overall “tax extenders” package. AWEA said the bill awaits action by the full Congress, expected in its lame-duck session after the November U.S. elections.
“It is up to Congress to bring it to a vote or else lose 37,000 jobs by the first quarter of next year,” Bode said, referring to a forecast by Navigant Consulting if the tax credit is not extended.
New installations totaling 1,833 MW occurred in the third quarter, bringing U.S. wind capacity to 51,628 MW as of October 1, AWEA said.
The year-to-date total stood at 4,728 MW at the end of the quarter, up 40 percent from the same point in 2011 with the average turbine size installed this year at around 2 MW, AWEA said.
Some of the top states for the third quarter that added new wind capacity were:
- Kansas with 473 MW
- Oregon with 333 MW
- Texas with 281 MW
- Oklahoma with 229 MW
- Nevada with 152 MW (Nevada’s wind project was its first, making it the 39th state with utility-scale wind installations)
The top states that are under contruction:
- Texas with 1,291 MW
- California with 1,022 MW
- Kansas with 836 MW
- Oklahoma with 734 MW
- Iowa with 597 MW
The biggest wind power companies in the United States:
- Florida’s NextEra Energy Inc
- Germany’s E.ON AG
- Virginia’s AES Corp
- Spain’s Iberdrola SA
- France’s EDF Group
The biggest turbine makers worldwide:
- Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S
- America’s General Electric Co
- Spain’s Gamesa
- Germany’s Enercon
- India’s Suzlon Energy Ltd
- Germany’s Siemens AG