The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released three reports showing record growth in land-based wind energy, significant expansion of the pipeline for offshore wind projects, and continued decline in the cost of wind energy generation – laying the groundwork for future gains as the Biden Administration pursues rapid acceleration of renewable energy deployment to reach its goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.
The 2021 edition of the Land-Based Wind Market Report, prepared by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, detailed a record 16,836 MW of new utility-scale land-based wind power capacity added in 2020 – representing US$24.6 billion of investment in new wind power projects. Other findings from the report include:
- Wind energy provided more than 10% of total in-state electricity generation in 16 states. Most notably, wind power provided 57% of Iowa’s in-state electricity generation, while wind provided more than 30% of electricity in Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
- New utility-scale, land-based wind turbines were installed in 25 states in 2020. Texas installed the most capacity with 4137 MW. Other leading states include Iowa, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Illinois, and Missouri — all of which added more than 1000 MW of capacity in 2020.
- Wind turbine prices have steeply declined from levels seen a decade ago, from US$1800/kW in 2008 to US$770 to US$850 per kW now.
The 2021 edition of the Offshore Wind Market Report, prepared by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, found that the pipeline for US offshore wind energy projects grew to 35,324 MW, a 24% increase over the previous year. Other details of the report include:
- The Bureau of Ocean Management created five new wind energy areas in the New York Bight with a total of 9800 MW of capacity, representing most of the 2020 to 2021 growth of the US pipeline.
- The Block Island Wind Farm (30 MW) off the coast of Rhode Island and the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot (12 MW) are the first two projects operating off US coasts. Massachusetts’ Vineyard Wind I became the first approved commercial-scale offshore wind energy project in the United States.
- Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Virginia all increased offshore wind procurement targets in 2020 and early 2021. In total, state goals grew by 15,600 MW, from about 24,000 MW by 2035 in 2019 to almost 40,000 MW by 2040.
The 2021 edition of the Distributed Wind Market Report, prepared by DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, noted that 11 states added a total of 14.7 MW of capacity, 1493 turbines, and US$41 million for new investment in distributed wind installations in 2020.
- Cumulative US distributed wind capacity stands at 1055 MW from more than 87,000 wind turbines across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam.
- Agricultural and residential customers accounted for the largest percentage of distributed wind projects installed in 2020 (36% and 24%, respectively), while utility and industrial customers accounted for the largest share of distributed wind capacity installed (58% and 37%, respectively).
- Small wind retrofits — new turbines installed on existing towers and foundations — have become more common, accounting for 80% of small wind capacity installed in 2020.