News from AWEA: Quarterly market release with year-end figures
- American Wind Energy Assocation
Date: January 27, 2005
Kathy Belyeu (202) 413-2607
Ryan Wagner (202) 828-9726
U.S. WIND INDUSTRY CONTINUES EXPANSION OF CLEAN, DOMESTIC ENERGY SOURCE
Over 20 New Projects Added in 2004 Despite Incentive Uncertainty
The U.S. wind energy industry turned in a solid performance in 2004, adding
389 megawatts (MW) of new generating equipment to the nationwide fleet, or
enough to serve more than 100,000 average homes, according to the
Washington, D.C.-based American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
Total new additions were down sharply from the highs in the boom years of
2001 (1,696 MW) and 2003 (1,687 MW). At year's end, the trade group said,
utility-scale wind installations in 30 states across the country totalled
6,740 MW, enough to serve more than 1.6 million households.
The small but burgeoning industry is hard at work planning projects that
should make 2005 a record year in terms of new wind generating capability
in the U.S. According to AWEA, over 2,000 MW of new wind power capacity is
likely to be added during the coming year, or enough to power more than
540,000 homes. The most recent extension of the federal wind energy
production tax credit (PTC) by Congress in October, 2004, teed up 2005 for
an impressive growth spurt, which will bring economic development activity
in rural areas, more diversity to the nation's generating mix to reduce
fuel price volatility, and clear environmental benefits to a nation that
continues to demand new electricity sources.
AWEA executive director Randall Swisher said the association will continue
to push for a multi-year extension of the existing PTC. Under current law,
the credit will expire at the end of 2005, which could becalm the industry
yet again. "The short-term duration of the federal production tax credit
(PTC) and its repeated expirations -- three in the past six years -- are
keeping this industry from reaching its potential to supply the nation with
clean, domestic electricity," he said.
Highlights of the current wind energy market outlook, according to AWEA,
Ø Wind farms already in place and those that will be installed by the
end of 2005 could save over half a billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas
per day in 2006. Using conservative growth estimates of 3,000 MW installed
every two years for the next four years, the U.S. could top 15,000 MW of
installed wind power capacity by the end of 2009, which would save nearly
0.9 Bcf/day by the end of this decade. Natural gas shortages and price
volatility have become an increasingly familiar part of the national energy
scene over the past few years.
Ø In 2004, seven states plus the District of Columbia passed
renewable portfolio standard (RPS) legislation requiring utilities to
provide a certain minimum amount of power from renewable sources such as
wind and solar, bringing the total to eighteen states and the
District. The citizens of Colorado made it the first state to pass an RPS
by popular referendum, endorsing a measure under which Colorado's top
utilities must obtain 10% of the state's power needs from renewables by 2015.
Ø Wind power continues to attract global power companies. In
September, international power plant developer AES Corp. announced its
first step into the U.S. wind market, an equity investment in US Wind
Force. AES also announced on January 11 that it plans to follow that
investment up with the purchase of SeaWest Holdings, a large West-coast
wind project developer. The main reason cited for the SeaWest deal was
that the company sees strong potential in wind as a new and expanding
source of electricity. Global power generation giant Siemens announced in
October that it would purchase wind turbine manufacturer Bonus Energy
A/S. The company said it decided to become a wind turbine manufacturer to
merge Bonus's well-regarded technology with Siemens' experience with
large-scale utility projects.
Ø More than 500 utilities in 34 states now offer green pricing
programs, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and
over 1,500 MW of wind power are currently serving the green power market
(generating electricity equivalent to the needs of 400,000 homes).
Ø Project announcements for 2005 are rolling in. Four of the top
five largest projects announced for construction this year are 200 MW or
larger, including the 240-MW Flat Rock Phase I project in New York, the
220-MW Wild Horse project in Washington, the 200-MW Forward Wind Power
project in Wisconsin, and the 200-MW Fenton project in Minnesota.
A state-by-state listing of existing and proposed wind energy projects is
available on AWEA's Web site at http://www.awea.org/projects/index.html .
AWEA, formed in 1974, is the national trade association of the U.S. wind
energy industry. The association's membership includes turbine
manufacturers, wind project developers, utilities, academicians, and
interested individuals. More information on wind energy is available at
the AWEA web site: www.awea.org .
Christine Real de Azua
Assistant Director of Communications
American Wind Energy Association
Direct phone: (202) 383-2508
Fax: (202) 383-2505
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