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US Wind Capacity Rebounds in 2014

wind installation trendsAfter a lackluster year in 2013, cumulative wind power capacity in the United States grew by nearly 8 percent in 2014, bringing the total to nearly 66 GW, according to the 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report released by the DOE and its Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The US ranks second in the world in terms of cumulative capacity but is the leading country in terms of wind power production.

In 2014, wind power represented 24 percent of electric generating capacity additions in the United States. Texas installed the most capacity in 2014 with 1,811 MW, while nine states exceed 12 percent wind energy penetration. New utility-scale wind turbines were installed in 19 states in 2014. On a cumulative basis, Texas remained the clear leader, with more than 14,000 MW installed. Wind power capacity installed in Iowa and South Dakota supplied more than 28 percent and 25 percent, respectively, of all in-state electricity generation in 2014, with Kansas close behind at nearly 22 percent.

In 2014, there was also a new trend toward utilities deploying turbines with larger rotors designed for lower wind speeds.

According to the 2014 Distributed Wind Market Report released by the DOE and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, US turbines in distributed applications reached a cumulative installed capacity of more than 906 MW, with roughly 74,000 turbines installed across all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Distributed wind energy installations range in size from a few hundred watts to multi-megawatts.

US small wind manufacturers continued to dominate the domestic market, accounting for 82 percent of the 2014 US new small wind sales on a capacity basis and 98 percent on a unit (turbine) basis.

The 3.7 MW of 2014 US small wind sales represents $20 million of investment. This is down from $36 million of investment in 2013, reflecting small wind’s continuing competition with solar PV and the low cost of other sources of electricity. However, wind energy prices are at an all-time low and are competitive with wholesale power prices and traditional power sources across many areas of the United States.

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