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DOE Report Shows Rapidly Growing U.S. Wind Power Market

U.S. wind power capacity increased by 46 percent in 2007, with $9 billion invested in U.S. wind plants in 2007 alone, making the U.S. the fastest-growing wind power market in the world for the third straight year, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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U.S. wind power capacity increased by 46 percent in 2007, with $9 billion invested in U.S. wind plants in 2007 alone, making the U.S. the fastest-growing wind power market in the world for the third straight year, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The annual report, U.S. Wind Power Installation, Cost and Performance Trends, provides a comprehensive overview of developments in the U.S. wind power market. The report analyzes developments in the wind market, including trends in wind installations, turbine size, turbine prices, installed project costs, project performance, wind power prices, and cost comparisons between wind power and conventional generation.

The report showed that wind is on a path to becoming a significant contributor to the U.S. power mix — wind projects accounted for 35 percent of all new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2007, and transmission facilities capable of generating a total of over 200 GW of wind power are in the early stages of development throughout the nation.

Some of the key findings of the report include:
- The U.S. is the fastest-growing wind market worldwide. The U.S. has led the world in new wind capacity for three straight years, and 1.2 percent of the nation’s electricity supply could be met with the wind capacity on line at the end of 2007.

- Growth is distributed across much of the U.S. States such as Texas, Colorado, Illinois, and Oregon led the U.S. in annual capacity growth in 2007; nine states had enough wind capacity at the end of 2007 to account for more than three percent of total in-state electricity generation.

- Market growth is spurring manufacturing investments in the U.S. Several major foreign wind turbine manufacturers either opened or announced new U.S. wind turbine manufacturing plants in 2007. New and existing U.S.-based manufacturers either initiated or scaled-up production. All told, the new turbine and component manufacturing facilities opened or announced in 2007 could create more than 4,700 new jobs in the U.S.

- Wind turbine prices and installed project costs have risen since 2002. Turbine price increases have been driven by weakness in the dollar, higher prices for materials and energy inputs, and shortages in certain turbine components — factors that are impacting many different types of generating technologies.

- Wind project performance has improved in recent years. This improvement in project performance has been driven in part by enhanced project siting and technological advancements.

- Wind power is competitive and has provided good value in wholesale power markets.  Despite rising project costs, in recent years, wind power has consistently been priced at, or below, the average price of conventional electricity, as reflected in wholesale power prices.



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