Wind power represented a large source of U.S. electric-generating capacity additions recently with $14.5 billion invested in 2015 (8,598 MW), bringing cumulative wind power capacity up by 12 percent, and total installed capacity to 73,992 MW. Wind additions across the U.S. are being driven by declining cost and increased performance of wind power technologies, resulting in affordable solar power for utility, corporate, and other purchasers. Turbine nameplate capacity, hub height, and rotor diameter have all increased, raising the efficiency of wind projects.
Unlike Europe, in the U.S. most wind has been onshore; offshore wind is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade. The first offshore wind project has been built off Nantucket (30 MW Block Island project) and permitting is under way for additional East coast developments. The U.S. is still well behind other countries in wind energy penetration. Wind power supplies approximately 5.6 percent of U.S. electricity in the U.S., compared to 40 percent of Denmark’s electricity and between 20 and 30 percent of electricity in Portugal, Ireland, and Spain.
Supported by growing corporate demand for wind energy, state-level policies the federal production tax credit annual wind power capacity additions are projected to continue growing in the coming five years. Various forecasts for the U.S. market show expected capacity additions averaging more than 8,000 MW/year to 2020.
Data according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Information is current as of January 2017 and subject to change.
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