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Company insight


Beautiful clean power in the US


American Clean Power is an organisation that gives the clean power industry a voice, and is helping to power the US’s green future, providing cost-effective solutions to the climate crisis while creating jobs. It is leading the current US charge in evolving to renewable energy solutions, which is continually increasing in both scope and power.


T


he Covid-19 pandemic upended expectations across the world in 2020. However, it was exactly the banner year for US wind energy that everyone expected, despite the lockdown’s widespread disruptions. The US market set records in 2020, with developers connecting roughly 17GW – enough wind energy to power over five million homes. That’s an astonishing 85% increase over 2019.


Several factors contributed to record- breaking growth, including strong continued demand from US consumers for clean energy to power their homes, as well as technological improvements that have made renewable energy lead the energy marketplace in cost-competitiveness. Corporate demand also continues to play a part, as more companies turn to renewable energy to cut costs and help achieve strict sustainability goals. In the fourth quarter of last year, the anticipated expiration of federal tax incentives led many developers to target the end of 2020 for project completion.


the podium in 2020, capturing 53% of new wind turbine capacity installations. Vestas took silver with 35% of installations, and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) walked away with bronze at 10%. Nordex represented the remaining 3%. GE’s 2.82-127 model was the most popular turbine installed in 2020, accounting for 28% of capacity additions, followed by Vestas’s V120-2.2 and the GE 2.5-127. For land-based wind projects, GE and Vestas account for 82% of projects under construction and in advanced development, of those that have reported a turbine supplier. GE currently represents 49% of this market, Vestas 33% and Nordex 13%. Wind turbines are becoming more powerful as well. In previous years, the average capacity of wind turbines was less than 2MW. In 2020, the majority (71%) of turbines installed were rated between 2–3MW, while 28% are rated over 3MW. Last year also saw the most 4MW-plus turbines added to the grid.


“In previous years, the average capacity of wind turbines was less than 2MW. In 2020, the majority (71%) of turbines installed were rated between 2–3MW, while 28% are rated over 3MW.”


The wind industry is a US success


story. US wind power capacity has more than tripled over the last decade with an 11% compound annual growth rate. At the end of 2020, there were 122GW of operating wind capacity in the US, with over 65,000 wind turbines operating across 41 states and two US territories. GE Renewable Energy (GE) stood atop


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There are now 13 projects utilising 4MW-plus-class turbines, totalling 2,229MW operating in the US.


Offshore finally taking off US offshore wind is finally poised to take off as well. States are driving strong demand for offshore wind energy, and have established targets to procure a total of


over 30GW of offshore wind by 2035 in the 15 lease areas issued to date. The Biden administration is backing the 30GW goal, striving to help hit the mark by 2030 through permitting and regulatory improvements for projects in federal waters. 12 projects totalling 9,070MW have already secured a buyer, primarily through state solicitations, and most of this capacity will be brought online by 2026. Looking ahead, wind deployments in 2021 will still be strong but cool off from the 2020 high point, since the PTC value for projects completed in 2021 drops to 80% PTC value. The wind industry installed 2,561MW of new capacity in the first quarter of 2021. At the end of that quarter, there were 949 clean energy projects (solar, wind, energy storage) totalling almost 86GW of capacity in the near-term development pipeline. The wind industry currently has 34GW in the near-term pipeline, representing 40% of total clean energy development activity. Solar accounts for the largest share of development activity with 44GW (53%), while battery energy storage systems totalling just over 7GW are under way. Those solar and wind pipeline proportions highlight one big reason why the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) merged into the American Clean Power Association (ACP), effective January 2021. Many of AWEA’s project developers and owners who, in the last few years, focused exclusively on wind energy are now embarking on major solar and energy storage projects as well thanks to the improving economics of those technologies. A copy of ACP’s Clean power quarterly report Q1 2021 can be downloaded at the website. ●


www.cleanpower.org World Wind Technology / www.worldwind-technology.com


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