• American Wind Energy Association
  • US Wind Generation
  • US Wind Market
  • Wind Power

Highlights from AWEA’s Annual Wind Market Report

Jesse Broehl
Apr 26, 2019

Wind Energy

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently published its annual report. Highlights include an 8% increase in US wind power capacity in 2018, as the wind industry commissioned 7,588 MW of new wind power capacity. There are now 96,433 MW of cumulative installed wind capacity in the US, with over 56,000 wind turbines operating across 41 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Developers commissioned 571 MW more wind power in 2018 compared to 2017, representing an 8% year-over-year growth. The industry has installed at least 7,000 MW in each of the past 4 years. Since 2014, wind power capacity has grown at an average annual rate of 10%. 

Wind energy generated 6.5% of the nation’s electricity in 2018, while all forms of renewable energy provided 17.6% of electricity generation. Wind power was the third-largest source of new electric generation capacity in 2018, capturing 20% of new power plant installation capacity for the year. Natural gas led new capacity additions, capturing 57% of the market, followed by solar with 22% of the market.

Construction Booms While Cost Drops

A wind construction boom is well underway. At the end of 2018, 35,135 MW of wind power capacity was either under construction or in advanced development across 31 states. Once complete, US wind power capacity in operation will increase to over 131,000 MW and will be capable of generating enough electricity to power over 42 million American homes.

The cost of wind energy dropped 69% between 2009 and 2018 as the industry continued to improve performance through new technologies. Improved siting techniques, taller towers, larger rotor diameters, more sophisticated controls systems, and advanced operations and maintenance practices all help boost energy production and reduce cost. Navigant Research's reports Harnessing Wind Turbine Optimization to Unlock Hidden Revenue and Advancing O&M Insights for Wind Plants with Digital Twins contain detailed analysis on the topic of these performance trends. 

Improving project economics and establishing robust state policies led to a surge in offshore wind activity in 2018. At the end of the year, project developers had a potential offshore wind pipeline of over 25,500 MW. Project developers expect six offshore wind projects totaling 2,101 MW to be operational by 2023.

Corporations Sign Wind Contracts Thanks to Low Cost and Stable Price

Thirty-seven corporations (including 21 first-time buyers) signed wind energy contracts, totaling a record 4,203 MW in 2018. Cumulatively, commercial and industrial purchasers have signed contracts for more than 11,300 MW of wind power. Companies cite declining costs and the stable price of wind power as driving factors for seeking out wind power contracts. Navigant Research covered this topic in its Corporate Utility-Scale Offsite Renewable Energy Procurement Solutions report.

General Electric (GE) retook the top position among wind turbine manufacturers in 2018 after placing second in annual market share to Vestas in 2016 and 2017. GE captured 40% of 2018 capacity installations with a total of 3,010 MW, up from a 29% share in 2017. Vestas ranked second for 2018 with 38% of the market, a slight increase over its 35% share in 2017. Nordex USA captured 11% of 2018 installations, propelling the OEM into third place for the first time ever and making it the second year in a row Nordex captured over 10% of US capacity installations. For the first time in 9 years, Siemens Gamesa (or the pre-merger entities) was not in the top three in market share, falling from 20% in 2017 to 8.3% in 2018.