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U.S. Wind Poised to Hit 150GW by 2020

The booming U.S. wind market is set to cross the 150 gigawatt mark by 2020, according to a report from market research firm Emerging Energy Research (EER). That includes 5.33 GW installed last year, and another 8 GW currently under construction and planned for completion by the end of this year, EER says. But it will take actually double that 2020 projection — a total of 300 gigawatts — if we want to get 20 percent of our electricity from wind like the DOE and T. Boone Pickens think we can.

Well, we’ve got to start somewhere. Where’s the growth coming from initially? EER credits increased participation from utilities for that. According to the firm, utility-owned wind capacity grew from 4 MW of added capacity in 2000 to 820 MW added in 2007. Consequently, US wind independent power producers will be competing more and more with huge utilities like Xcel, MidAmerican and Alliant who currently dominate their regions’ wind markets.

All of this projected wind power capacity means we’ll need more wind turbines, a commodity in short supply. EER expects the domestic wind turbine market to reach $12 billion by the end of this year and then $16 billion by 2015. T. Boone alone has already ordered an initial $2 billion worth of turbines and is rumored to planning to spend several more billion.

Images courtesy of Emerging Energy Research.

10 Responses to “U.S. Wind Poised to Hit 150GW by 2020”

  1. Much of what happens in the future depends on key decisions to be made by Congress and the next Administration. For some perspective, U.S. wind power tripled between the end of 2001 and the end of 2004, then tripled AGAIN between the end of 2004 and the end of 2007. Continuing to progress at that rate would get us pretty far by 2019 (actually more than 1 million megawatts, which is not going to happen). The point, though, is that this industry has demonstrated the ability to expand VERY rapidly and can likely continue to do so, IF the federal government provides a consistent policy commitment.

    Currently, the federal wind production tax credit is scheduled to expire at the end of this year, and Congress has yet to extend it. The credit was allowed to expire three previous times before being renewed, and on each occasion, installations of new wind fell by 70-90% the next year. We really need to avoid that kind of whipsawing in the future if we want to see what this industry can deliver. You can help push for the credit to be renewed at .

  2. Like what Joe said, there’s a company out of Lafayette, Lousiana called WEST energy that’s partnering with a manufacturer of tidal energy turbines to construct offshore combined wind and tidal power facilities off the coast of Galveston and Corpus Christi, Texas.

    Louisiana actually has some of the most productive winds in the country right off our coastline, but we’re having a hard time convincing our public service commission to enact a renewables percentage standard or to allow WEST to pass the initial construction costs on to ratepayers, as Texas does.

    This should change, however. Louisiana gets most of its electricity from natural gas. Right now, bills in New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana are skyrocketing, and we lost a billion dollar steel mill to Alabama because of our high energy costs. The Public Service Commission will hopefully change its views on offshore wind turbines, thought right now they’re pushing for some of these older nat. gas plants to convert to burn coal and petroleum coke (a waste product from our numerous refineries) and the construction of newnuclear plants in Thibodeaux and Donaldsonville.

    I think as nat. gas continues to go up in price, especially if we intend to use more of it as a transportation fuel, and as coal increases in price as more if is gasified, we’ll see these offshore combined wind/tidal facilities come into existence quickly.

    …And those nuke plants in Thibodeaux and Donaldsonville are having a hard time securing funding.

  3. Go head! Piss me off, even more!

    I live in New Mexico – where our state engineer’s office determined a dozen years ago that we could be a net energy exporting state – from wind generated electricity.

    Look at us on that map. Between candyass politicans – including Bill Richardson – and a sleazy power monopoly wholly focused on exporting mediocre brown coal-generated electricity to the Los Angeles basin, we have accomplished next to nil.

    And not much more in sight.