Wind energy top source for new electric capacity in 2015

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Wind energy top source for new electric capacity in 2015

February 16, 2016

Wind energy installed more electric generating capacity last year than any other energy source in America.

The 8.6 gigawatts (GW) of wind power capacity installed surpassed the 7.3 GW of new solar photovoltaic capacity and 6 GW installed by natural gas, according to data from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the recently released Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy and Finance (BNEF) 2016 Factbook. Wind accounted for more than 35 percent of new generating capacity, while all renewable resources together provided 68 percent of the new capacity, according to the Factbook.

“Wind’s growth is being propelled by cost reductions of two-thirds over the last six years, which now makes wind the lowest-cost source of new generation,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), at the annual winter meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), in the Renaissance Hotel, Washington, D.C..

“It’s one of the biggest, fastest, cheapest ways we can reduce U.S. carbon emissions, and the low-cost solution for power sector reductions. Utilities and other purchasers are turning to wind energy also because it provides stably-priced energy with no fuel price risk, and protects consumers by creating a more diverse energy portfolio,” Kiernan said.

After a strong finish last year, wind energy is off to a good start in 2016, with an additional 9.4 GW under construction, an additional 4.9 GW in advanced stages of development, and a predictable federal Production Tax Credit for the next several years.

“With long-term policy certainty in place, wind power is ready to keep this American success story going,” said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy and current AWEA Board Chair. “Further investments in our technology will enable utilities to cut costs and pass on the savings to American homeowners and businesses.”

“These impressive results drive home the point that Wind is a cost-effective solution that makes business sense.  More than 500 wind industry factories in 43 states are turning out taller turbines, longer blades, and other components that captures more energy, helping further drive down our costs and opening up new parts of the country for utility-scale wind farms,” said Chris Brown, President of Vestas, Americas.

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