2015 was a growing year for the wind energy industry, during which we’ve seen a lot of advancements being made that should make for a promising future to carry on into 2016.
AWEA’s recently released market report revealed that more than 1,600 MW of new wind capacity was installed during the third quarter of 2015, bringing the total to almost 3,600 MW for the year.
A “wind rush” also occurred in October with a record wind output reported by grid operators in Texas (ERCOT), the Midwest (MISO), Colorado, the Lower Plains states, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), and New England (ISO-NE).
In fact, according to Bloomberg Business, the Great Plains states spanning south from Canada to Texas between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River are turning away from burning coal and instead looking to generate the power they need by harvesting wind power. With coal at its lowest point in 14 years, wind generation has grown almost tenfold since 2005 in Texas where more coal is burned than any other state. Also, throughout the latter part of this year, Texas installed the most wind power in the U.S. with 771 MW, according to AWEA. Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and the Dakotas have all followed a similar trend as they’ve shifted toward using more renewable sources of power, including wind.
Wind generation has been growing across the country since 2005 — not only in the Lone Star State. Ten years ago, the U.S. had approximately 9,000 MW of wind capacity. That number has grown to 69,471 today, as well as more than 13,250 that are under construction, according to AWEA.
Coal producers are struggling with their industry’s worst downturn in decades driven by tougher emissions standards resulting from escalating global warming concerns. According to EIA data, coal fell by 13 percent from 2010 through 2014 in the wind-rich states of Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.
So, there you have it. The evidence supports that wind is headed in the right direction going into 2016. With the holidays just around the corner, that news couldn’t have come at a better time. (Cue the eggnog and relaxing by an open fire.)
In preparation for the new year, we’ve included a 2016 Wind Systems calendar with this issue where you’ll find several holidays marked as well as AWEA’s major events throughout the year, including the annual WINDPOWER show coming up in New Orleans from May 23 to May 26. This event is set to include lots of educational opportunities and key networking events, some of what I enjoyed most in Orlando this year.
As always, thanks for reading, and happy holidays!
Anna Claire Howard