This week’s news looks toward the future, where wind energy has an exciting year ahead, and it looks to keep on growing, while offshore makes some serious gains in North America.
2014 will be a record year for wind power here and around the world, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC):
- Wind-power installations will climb to a record this year, driven by resurgent U.S. demand and growth in developing nations from Brazil to China, the Global Wind Energy Council predicted.
- [Along with growth in non-OECD countries] The U.S. will also see a rebound, because of the structuring of the industry’s tax incentives, according to the council. The so-called production tax credit, or PTC, expired at the end of 2012 before being renewed a day later when developers had already rushed wind farms to completion, leaving a dearth of new projects and causing last year’s decline. While the credit expired again at the end of 2013, new rules mean that any projects that began construction last year can still benefit if they are completed by the end of 2015.
- “Partly because of the precipitous drop in the U.S. in 2013, 2014 promises to be a record year,” Sawyer and Rave wrote. “The U.S. had an all-time high of more than 12,000 megawatts under construction in December of 2013, and the nature of last year’s PTC extension means that not only 2014 but 2015 will be solid and productive years.”
North American wind power will power through this record year and beyond, according to a new report from MAKE Consulting:
- MAKE expects North America to install 58.6 GW through 2023 – 30% of which is expected from 2014 to 2016 on account of an anticipated production tax credit (PTC) extension in the U.S. this year and provincial feed-in tariffs (FITs) and procurements in Canada. Beyond 2016, MAKE expects two more growth cycles from 2018 to 2020 and from 2021 to 2023, which will largely track state renewable energy standard (RES) targets and fossil fuel capacity retirements in the U.S.
- The firm says that although North American wind power development continues to hinge on intermittent policy support mechanisms, economic factors, including volatile natural gas prices and reductions in wind power’s levelized cost of energy (LCOE), will have growing importance and help drive new capacity through 2023.
- With an expected CAGR of 17.1% from 2013 to 2023, the U.S. will remain the dominant market in North America. Cumulative installations over the next 10 years in the U.S. are expected to be four times larger than Canada’s. In terms of long-term development, MAKE says growth in the U.S. appears to be more secure as state RES policies, coal retirements, and stronger economic growth offer steady sources of demand for wind power; while Canada awaits successor policies.
Offshore is making waves in regions across the United States, where hopeful projects are ambitiously moving forward:
- Let’s start with the most mature project, the 30MW proposed Block Island. Offshore wind firm Deepwater Wind won the rights to develop 164,750 acres off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the Interior Department’s first competitive offshore wind lease sale last year, in what could eventually become a massive 1,000MW-capacity wind farm.
- We already know Texas is America’s unquestioned leader in onshore wind, most recently setting a new wind energy generation record spurred on by transmission system improvements, but an under-the-radar announcement may position the Lone Star state to dominate offshore wind too.
- The Texas Emerging Technology Fund last week awarded $2.2 million to the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Wind Energy Center to help researchers from four in-state universities to develop offshore wind technology and bring it to market.
- Last but not least, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has published an environmental assessment of a proposed offshore wind resource assessment lease off Tybee Island, Georgia.
Be sure to check out all of this week’s roundups:
- Wednesday: PTC a success story, clean energy grows globally, Arizona calls for more renewables
- Tuesday: Breaking new records, driving down carbon emissions, conservatives embrace clean energy
- Monday: Bipartisan wind power, harvesting Texas wind, tech pioneers invest in clean energy
Alex Morales, “Wind Power Projects to Rise to Record in 2014, Lobby Says.” Bloomberg. 9 April 2014.
Staff, “MAKE Expects North American Wind Market To Grow 207% YOY In 2014.” North American Windpower. 9 April 2014.
Silvio Marcacci, “Offshore Wind Advances in Rhode Island, Texas, Georgia.” Clean Technica. 9 April 2014.