We already knew it was a record-breaking year for the U.S. wind power industry in 2012, as fears that the production tax credit for wind would vanish drove installations at a frenzy pace toward the end of the year. Some 8,380 megawatts of the year’s 13,124 megawatts of generating capacity went online in the fourth quarter, which means that nearly 15 percent of the total wind power capacity ever installed in the country happened in the last three months of 2012.
But which states did the most damage in the year? A new release from the American Wind Energy Association breaks it down.
The Top 10 states for new installed wind capacity in 2012:
1. Texas (1,826 MW)
2. California (1,656 MW)
3. Kansas (1,440 MW)
4. Oklahoma (1,127 MW)
5. Illinois (823 MW)
6. Iowa (814 MW)
7. Oregon (640 MW)
8. Michigan (611 MW)
9. Pennsylvania (550 MW)
10. Colorado (496 MW)
As we’ve reported, wind was the top new source for energy generation in 2012 in the United States, accounting for 42 of the new capacity. AWEA Interim CEO Rob Gramlich said it was “a real testament to American innovation and hard work that for the first time ever a renewable energy source was number one in new capacity.”
That will not, however, be repeated in 2013. Even though the PTC was eventually extended for a year, and for projects simply under construction before the end of this year, the industry might be lucky to muster a third of the new installations it had in 2012.
The problem is that after squeezing so many projects into service in 2012, the pipeline for future projects is empty.
“Asset financing for US wind projects crested in the first half of 2012 at $9.6bn, in preparation for the 2012 burst, and then plummeted to $4.3bn in the second half of 2012,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in an anaylsis. “As a result, the upstream portion of the industry has taken grievous hits. Companies that produce turbines, blades, and other components of wind equipment – including manufacturers such as Vestas, Gamesa, Clipper and Siemens – have all either initiated or announced layoffs.”
by Pete Danko