Full Title: 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report
Author(s): Ryan Wiser and Mark Bolinger
Publisher(s): U.S. Department of Energy
Publication Date: 8/2013
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Annual wind power additions in the United States achieved record levels in 2012, while wind energy pricing is near an all-time low, according to a new report released by the U.S. Department of Energy and prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
Roughly 13.1 gigawatts (GW) of new wind power capacity were connected to the U.S. grid in 2012, well above the previous high in 2009, and motivated by the scheduled expiration of federal tax incentives at the end of 2012. The prices offered by wind projects to utility purchasers averaged $40/MWh for projects negotiating contracts 2011 and 2012, spurring demand for wind energy. At the same time, even with a short-term extension of federal tax incentives now in place, the wind power industry is facing uncertain times, in part due to low natural gas prices and continued policy uncertainty.
Key findings from the report include:
- Wind is a credible source of new generation in the U.S.
- Despite challenges, a growing percentage of the equipment used in U.S. wind power projects has been sourced domestically in recent years.
- Turbine scaling is boosting wind project performance.
- Falling wind turbine prices are pushing installed project costs lower.
- Wind energy prices have been falling since 2009, and now rival previous lows.
- Looking ahead, projections are for slow growth in 2013, followed by a much stronger year in 2014.