US Wind Power:
The State of the
Halfway through 2013, we’re taking a look at the U.S. wind
power market and where (and if) executives from major turbine
manufacturers expect to see progress this year and beyond. Opportunities
for growth do exist, but the market needs certainty to flourish.
JIM MONTGOMERY, Associate Editor
No doubt 2012 was a blowout year for wind energy in
the U.S. The final count showed that roughly 13 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity was installed, representing more than 40 percent of all energy installed in the
country during the year. Nine states now get 10 percent or more of their electricity from wind, according
to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
But keep in mind, more than half of that surge of
wind energy capacity came in the final weeks of 2012
in a rush to get projects completed ahead of the expiring production tax credit (PTC), and some of that was
pulled in from 2013 planning. The PTC’s uncertainty
and eventual last-minute renewal, and clarifications
recently issued about its minimum qualification criteria, have set the stage for 2013 to start off slow and
rev up again later this year, though likely nowhere
near 2012’s surge.
Even so, the U.S. ranks “number one or number
two” for the best growth market of any region for wind
energy, proclaimed Chris Brown, sales president for
the U.S. and Canada for wind turbine OEM Vestas.
Anne McEntee, newly hired VP of rival GE’s renewable
energy business, which does large chunk of its wind