United States

United States

PTC-rush could prompt 30GW-plus by 2020

UNITED STATES: More than 30GW of new wind capacity could be installed over the next three years as developers take advantage of the production tax credit (PTC) before it is phased out, according to new analysis.

The United States' total installed capacity reached 91,105MW as of 1 August, 2018, according to Windpower Intelligence (pic credit: EDPR)
The United States' total installed capacity reached 91,105MW as of 1 August, 2018, according to Windpower Intelligence (pic credit: EDPR)

Beyond 2020, however, annual wind installations in the US will decline, analysts at Make Consulting forecast.

However, projects coming online in 2021 that had secured 80% PTC will remain cost-competitive with solar PV and gas capacity in several states, the analysts added.

The $0.023/kWh PTC, paid for during the first ten years of a project’s life, is being gradually decreased before eventually expiring in 2020.

Make stated there were a number of potential drivers and barriers to wind capacity installations between 2018 and 2021.

These include: carbon policies, interest from the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector, the evolution of battery storage and electric vehicles (EVs), and falling costs of solar PV.

Another potential barrier to wind power growth was "the extreme possible outcomes of actions undertaken by one of the most unpredictable presidents in US history", Make added.

Offshore

There will be more than 5GW of offshore wind capacity by the end of 2027, Make forecast.

However, to reach this goal will require inter-state and inter-developer coordination in the first half of the next decade before a domestic supply chain can develop to stabilise the sector’s volatility, Make added.

Tenders have already been held for projects in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York, awarding off-take contracts and financial support for roughly 1.8GW of capacity in total.

Other forecasts

Analysts have been divided over growth rates in the US in the next decade, but have generally agreed that the planned PTC phase-out provides visibility and certainty.

Consultancy IHS Markit forecast 35GW of new wind capacity will be added in the US by 2023, but much of this will be built by 2021.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted 44GW of new wind capacity would be built between 2015 – when the phase-out was approved – and the end of 2021.

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