A burst of new wind farm announcements in the first quarter of 2019 propelled the total volume of U.S. wind power construction and development activity to a record level according to the newly released U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2019 Market Report.
The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) report reveals that U.S. project developers announced new wind farms with a total capacity of 6,146MW in the first quarter of 2019. The additional capacity brings the U.S. construction and advanced development pipeline to a record-breaking 39,161MW, an 11 percent increase over the previous quarter. Project developers also reported 21,949MW of wind capacity in the advanced development stage, which also reached a record level. Projects in advanced development have not yet begun construction but are likely to come online in the near term because they have either signed a long-term contract, placed turbine orders, or are proceeding under utility ownership. A total of 841MW of wind projects came online during the first quarter.
The first quarter of 2019 saw the second strongest volume of power purchase agreements (PPAs) since AWEA began tracking procurement activity, with 2,717MW of wind PPAs signed. Utilities signed contracts totaling 2,694MW. In addition, utilities announced plans to build and own 1,049MW of wind in the first quarter, underscoring continued utility appetite to own and rate-base wind projects.
On the offshore front, the year kicked off with an ambitious announcement from New York’s Governor Cuomo increasing the state’s offshore wind goal to 9,000MW by 2035, up from the previous target of 2,400MW. National Grid filed for approval of a 20-year contract to buy 400MW from the Revolution Wind project at a fixed price of $98 per megawatt-hour (MWh), the second offshore wind PPA to come in below $100 perMWh. Leading energy developers continued fierce competition to develop America’s world-class offshore wind resources. In February, New York received bids from four offshore developers in response to its first solicitation for at least 800MW of offshore wind. The winning bid will be announced later this spring.