The release of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Wind Energy Technology Data Update: 2020 Edition provides an updated overview of data and trends in land-based wind energy in the U.S., in the form of a briefing slide deck, a data file, and a series of data visualizations.
Highlights this year include:
Wind comprises a growing share of electricity supply
More than 9 gigawatts of new wind power capacity, representing an investment of $13 billion, was installed in the U.S. in 2019. Wind energy output rose to more than 7% of the entire nation’s electricity supply, more than 10% in fourteen states, and more than 40% in two of those states—Iowa and Kansas. At least 225 gigawatts of wind are seeking transmission interconnection, 5% of which are paired with storage.
Wind project performance has increased over time
The average 2019 capacity factor among projects built from 2014 through 2018 was 41%, compared to an average of 31% among projects built from 2004 to 2012 and 25% among projects built from 1998 to 2001.
Turbines continue to get larger
Improved plant performance has been driven, in part, by larger turbines mounted on taller towers and featuring longer blades. The area swept by the average wind turbine rotor has more than doubled since 2010, compared to a 42% increase in average turbine capacity and a 13% increase in average hub height.
Low wind turbine pricing continues to push down installed project costs
Wind turbine prices have fallen to $700–$850/kW. The average installed cost of wind projects in 2019 was $1,440/kW, down more than 40 percent since the peak in 2009 and 2010.
The levelized cost of wind energy is down 60% from a decade ago
The levelized cost of wind energy, which does not reflect the federal production tax credit, was in the mid-$30/MWh range in 2019, down from the $85-90/MWh range seen a decade ago.
The domestic supply chain for wind equipment is diverse
For wind projects recently installed in the U.S., domestically manufactured content is highest for nacelle assembly (>90%), towers (65-85%), and blades and hubs (40-70%), but is much lower for most components internal to the nacelle.