America’s wind power sector is on track to provide 10% of the country’s electricity by 2020, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
US Wind TurbineAccording to wind energy executives attending the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) WINDPOWER 2016 Conference and Exhibition, being held in New Orleans, if technology development continues to lower costs, wind power will stay on pace to supply 10% of the country’s electricity needs by 2020. Existing stability provided by the extension of the wind production tax credit is being matched by state-level policy and corporate and other non-utility buyers all aiming to cut carbon pollution.
But this political stability must hold if the country’s wind power sector is to reach its full potential in the years to come.
“We’ve built an American success story that creates jobs, cuts carbon pollution, and cuts costs for American consumers,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the AWEA. “To continue this success by installing at least eight gigawatts a year through 2020, we need our 88,000 workers to share our story with elected officials, the communities that host our projects, and with all the young people throughout the country.”
“Wind is winning,” added Chris Brown, President of Vestas America, and recently-elected board chair of AWEA. “While our fuel is free, our customers know the machines aren’t free. The challenge is to make renewable technology so cheap that it’s the obvious choice. That’s why we’ve driven down costs by technology advancement including longer rotors, taller towers, advanced controls, and product reliability. Investor appetite has grown, also lowering the cost of capital. And as a result, the real cost of wind power in the US has dropped by more than 60%.”
According to the AWEA, there is now enough wind capacity installed throughout 40 US states to reliably supply power to 20 million homes. In an attempt to beat the (presumed) expiry of the wind production tax credit, the wind industry installed more new electricity generating capacity in 2015 than any other technology. Wind power jobs therefore rose 20% coming into 2016, and wind turbine technology is continuing to advance.