The 12,747MW of wind power capacity newly commissioned in 2021 was only otherwise surpassed in 2012, according to new figures from the American Clean Power Association (ACP).
In the fourth quarter of the year, 25 wind farms with a combined capacity of 5,409MW were brought online, despite about 5.5GW of wind capacity due for commissioning in Q4 being delayed.
The ACP said the strong pipeline could be challenged by supply chain constraints, project economics and long waits for grid connection.
It counts capacity as being commissioned only once the full project is brought online.
In a year when the US passed the 200GW marker of installed wind, solar and battery capacity, wind retained its position as the most-deployed option, with land-based capacity now at 134,996MW – 67.4% of the total for the three technologies.
Overall, the three technologies installed 27,723MW in 2021, with nearly a third of it (10,520MW) coming online in the last quarter of the year. The ACP highlighted a healthy project pipeline with 120,171MW in development or under construction.
Texas is the leading state for new wind development, with 7,352MW installed in 2021 – more than the next four states combined: California (2,697MW), Oklahoma (1,543MW), Florida (1,382MW) and New Mexico (1,374MW).
It also has 6,145MW in its pipeline – almost as much as the next three states combined: Wyoming (3,000MW), Illinois (2,100MW) and Oklahoma (1,748MW). The development part of the pipeline is 47% higher than at the end of 2020.
Solar currently represents 30.3% of installed capacity and batteries currently just 2.3%. But solar roll-outs recorded their best-ever year in 2021, with 12,364MW coming into operation. The development pipeline also indicates a shift towards more solar: at 55% of the pipeline it outweighs the total of onshore wind (23,868MW, 20%) offshore wind (17,458MW, 15%), and battery storage (12,501MW/32,127MWh, 10%).