US wind project pipeline record 41.8GW through Q2: AWEA

The US had record 41.8GW of wind capacity under construction or in advanced stages of development on 30 June, a 10% increase from a year ago, as developers rushed to complete projects to capture maximum value from fading federal tax credits, according to latest American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) figures.

The production tax credit (PTC), which has underpinned the wind industry since 1992, will sunset at the end of this year. To qualify projects for 100% value – $24/MWh over the first decade of operation – they must be in commercial operation by 2020.

Those that qualify for 80% value must be online by 2021, 60% by 2022 and any at 40% by 2023. There is possible wiggle room with that timeline, but the great majority of developers say they will respect it to avoid costly eligibility denial by the US tax authority.

The wind project pipeline grew 7%, or 7.29GW, in the April-June period, AWEA said in its US Wind Industry Second Quarter 2019 Market Report.

Of the 20.9GW of wind capacity under construction, Texas had the most among states with 7.62GW followed by Wyoming (3.75GW) and New Mexico (1.44GW).

New York led all states with capacity in advanced development with 1.7GW, edging out South Dakota (1.67GW) and Iowa (1.5GW).

AWEA defines a project in advanced development if it has not yet started construction but has either signed a PPA (or similar long-term contract), announced a firm turbine order, or been announced to proceed under utility ownership.

Among utilities, Xcel Energy was the leader with 3.5GW of capacity under construction or in advanced development, slightly ahead of Berkshire Hathaway Energy (3.4GW)

Demand for wind energy remains strong from electric utilities and non-traditional buyers such as large corporates and industrials, educational institutions, military bases, municipalities and others. Utilities signed 949MW of 1.96GW of long-term off-take deals in the quarter and other buyers the balance.

In the first half, 35 customers announced wind power purchases totaling 4.8GW.

Capacity installations

Developers installed 736MW of new capacity in the second quarter – all but 2MW in Texas – versus 626MW a year earlier, bringing total US wind capacity to 97.9GW. First half installations totaled 1.57GW compared with 1.03GW through June 2018.

Texas now has 25.62GW of installed with capacity, roughly triple number two Iowa (8.95GW), followed by Oklahoma (8.07GW), California (5.84GW) and Kansas (5.65GW), according to the report.

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