United States

United States

US wind booms as tax credit cut-off looms

The US wind industry installed 2.5GW of new capacity in the second quarter of 2020, a record for Q2 additions, despite delays caused by the pandemic

Q2 is generally a sluggish period for US wind installations, but 2.5GW was added this year despite the effects of Covid-19 (pic:Invenergy)
Q2 is generally a sluggish period for US wind installations, but 2.5GW was added this year despite the effects of Covid-19 (pic:Invenergy)

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The 2.5GW installed was more than three times the 736MW added in Q2 2019, stated the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) in its latest Wind Powers America quarterly report.

The increase brought total US wind capacity to nearly 110GW.

The US is currently experiencing a boom in installations prompted by the looming expiration of the $0.0015/kWh production tax credit (PTC), the primary federal incentive available to the wind industry. It expires at the end of the year.

The boom is, however, being limited by the effects of Covid-19. More than half a million clean energy workers are currently jobless, according to a report released early in August led by the American Council on Renewable Energy (Acore).

“American wind power is immensely proud of its 120,000 workers who have fought to bring additional clean, reliable electricity to American citizens, even in the initial stages of the global pandemic,” said Tom Kiernan, AWEA’s chief executive.

Construction activity reached another new record in the second quarter, with more than 25.3GW under construction nationally. Another 18.3GW is in advanced development, with a power purchase agreement (PPA), a firm turbine order, or having been given the go-ahead by a utility owner. 

AWEA’s report highlighted continuing advancement of offshore wind. Installation of the two turbines at the US’s first wind project in federal waters – the pilot 12MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project owned by Dominion Energy – was completed in June. The project is expected to start operations later in 2020. 

Only one offshore project, the 30MW Block Island in state waters off Rhode Island, is operating. 

According to AWEA, offshore wind now represents 21% of the US's total wind pipeline at more than 9GW.

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