AWEA reports U.S. wind energy growth of 8 percent in 2018
The American Wind Energy Association also reports growth in wind energy jobs, revenues of more than $1 billion from wind energy and expected offshore wind growth.
In 2018, the U.S. wind energy industry supported 114,000 American jobs, more than 500 domestic factories and revenue of more than $1 billion for states and communities that host wind farms, according to a recently released annual market report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA; Washington, D.C., U.S.). AWEA announced the report’s findings at the Greater Houston Partnership.
According to the report, U.S. wind power capacity increased 8 percent in 2018, to 96,433 megawatts of cumulative installed wind capacity — more than double the capacity the U.S. had in 2010 — representing more than $12 billion in new private investment. The U.S. now has enough installed wind capacity to power over 30 million American homes, AWEA says. Wind energy now reliably delivers more than 20 percent of the electricity produced Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota and Maine. In 2018, wind turbines generated 6.5 percent of all the electricity delivered to U.S. consumers.
Looking ahead, 35,135 megawatts of wind power capacity are either under construction or in advanced development across 31 states, AWEA says. Upon completion of these construction projects, the U.S. will have enough installed wind capacity to power 42 million American homes.
By 2023, the report says, the U.S. offshore wind sector is expected to scale up from a single, 30-megawatt project to six offshore wind projects totaling 2,101 megawatts. Due to improving project economics and robust state policies, project developers had a potential offshore wind pipeline of over 25,500 megawatts by the end of 2018, the report says.
According to AWEA, Texas ranked first for installed wind power capacity and wind jobs last year and is home to about a quarter of all U.S. wind power capacity. Texas also leads in wind industry jobs and investment. It is the top state for direct and indirect wind industry jobs, with more than 25,000 Texans working in the industry. Wind farms in Texas have drawn over $46 billion in total capital investment to date and pay approximately $307 million each year in landowner payments plus state and local taxes.
Wind energy is also contributing to job growth in the renewable energy sector. The U.S. added 8,500 wind power jobs last year, AWEA says, including jobs in wind turbine service, construction, engineering and manufacturing.
Last year, non-utility buyers, including Fortune 500 brands, cities and universities, signed long-term contracts for a total of 4,203 megawatts — a 66 percent increase on the previous record set in 2015, AWEA says.
“Wind power’s record-breaking year shows our industry is leading the way to a cleaner, stronger 21st century U.S. economy,” says Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “America’s least expensive source of new electricity generation is also clean and inexhaustible, which gives our economy an edge in the global marketplace. We’re proud to report the wind industry employs a record number of Americans, supports a robust domestic manufacturing sector with over 500 factories, and contributes over a billion dollars a year to states and rural communities.”
Read the full report for more.
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