The Department of Energy recently revealed the 2015 Wind Technologies Market Report, which shows big growth in distributed wind and lowered costs in wind energy.
Greentechmedia.com explains the five key takeaways from the report:
- Market rebounds after a terrible 2013
Annual wind capacity additions rebounded in 2014 with 4,854 megawatts of new capacity — and evidence of a strong 2015 and 2016 to come. For most of its history, the U.S. wind market has been subject to the off-and-on wind Production Tax Credit. As goes the PTC, so goes the wind market — although that might be changing.
- Wind as credible resource
The number of states where wind accounts for a significant amount of in-state generation has changed drastically from just 10 years ago. One co-author of the report revealed, “Wind power currently contributes almost 5 percent of the nation’s electricity supply, more than 12 percent of total electricity generation in nine states, and more than 20 percent in three of those states.”
- Rotor diameter keeps getting bigger
Large rotor machines are being used throughout the industry at both low- and high-speed sites. One of the authors explained how just a few years ago, no turbines were more than 100 meters in diameter — now 80 percent are.”
- How does $.0235 per kilowatt-hour sound?
The LBNL report calculates that wind projects built in 2014 had an average installed cost of $1,710 per kilowatt, down almost $600 per kilowatt from the peak in 2009, www.greentechmedia.com explains.
- Strength in 2015 and 2016, but what happens in 2017?
Although the PTC has technically expired, it still allows for the continuation of projects that began being built by the end of 2014. Growth after 2016 remains uncertain, however, and will be driven by PTC policy shifts and natural gas prices. But in the Northeast or Western U.S., where the wind speeds are not quite as high and it’s more expensive to build, the PTC is still what can make or break a project.