United States

United States

Record-high US power deals in Q1 2018

UNITED STATES: Power purchase agreements (PPAs) were signed for more than 3.5GW of wind power in Q1 2018 -- the highest volume of deals in any quarter since the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) started tracking them.

The United States' total installed capacity reached 89,379MW at the end of Q1 2018 (pic credit: AWEA)
The United States' total installed capacity reached 89,379MW at the end of Q1 2018 (pic credit: AWEA)

This demand has driven wind power development, AWEA stated in its first quarter market report, with 5,523MW of projects beginning construction or entering advanced stages of development – up from 5,393MW last quarter.

The US’ full pipeline now totals nearly 33.5GW — a 33.9% increase from a year ago, and the highest level since AWEA began measuring this statistic.

But just seven wind farms in seven states with a combined capacity of 406MW were installed in the first quarter — down from 2GW in Q1 2017 — bringing the country’s total installed capacity to 89,379MW.

Nevertheless, AWEA said it was "busy" period. AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan added: "Our industry is consistently growing the wind project pipeline as leading companies, including utilities and brands like AT&T and Nestle, keep placing orders."

Six companies including software specialist Adobe, telecommunications firm AT&T and food manufacturer Nestle signed their first wind PPAs, while financial news group Bloomberg, social media giant Facebook, sports brand Nike, and mobile communications provider T-Mobile became repeat customers.

In March, Adobe announced a power deal for 10MW of developer Enel’s 320MW Rattlesnake Creek site between 2019 and 2029, when Facebook will increase its 200MW portion to the full capacity.

Utilities including Pacificorp and DTE Energy also signed large-scale deals to develop and own wind power projects.

In February, Rocky Mountain Power, Pacificorp’s unit in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, said it had selected plans for four new wind farms with a combined capacity of just over 1.31GW to expand its fleet.

Construction started on 1,366MW of wind farms in Q1 2018, while projects with a combined capacity of 4,158MW entered advanced stages of development, according to AWEA.

The organisation’s definition of ‘advanced’ includes projects that have found a buyer for their energy, announced a firm turbine order, or announced to proceed under utility ownership.

Meanwhile, the trend of installed capacity being concentrated in a small handful of suppliers continued in Q1 2018, AWEA noted, with GE and Vestas capturing a combined 99% of the US wind turbine market. Vensys and Zond provided the remaining 1%.

Last year, four manufacturers — Vestas, Nordex, Siemens Gamesa and GE — supplied 99.46% of turbines installed in the US.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) will hold its Windpower 2018 conference and exhibition in Chicago (7-10 May). Windpower Monthly will bring all of the coverage from the show across the week. 

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