The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released three wind energy market reports stating that as wind installations continue across the country and offshore wind projects move beyond the planning process, technology costs and wind energy prices continue to fall.
Over the past year, the industry has seen the U.S. distributed wind capacity exceed one gigawatt (GW). The 2017 Wind Technologies Market Report, prepared by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, found that the U.S. wind industry installed 7,017 megawatts (MW) of capacity last year, bringing total utility-scale wind capacity to nearly 89GW. In total, 41 states operated utility-scale wind projects. Texas leads the nation with over 22GW of wind capacity, while Oklahoma, Iowa, California and Kansas have more than 5,000MW.
Bigger turbines with longer blades are enhancing wind plant performance. Wind projects built in the past few years have seen capacity factors increase by 79 percent compared to projects installed from 1998 to 2001. The average installed cost of wind projects in 2017 was $1,611 per kilowatt (kW), down 33 percent from the peak in 2009–2010.