Wind Power Development in the United States: Current Progress, Future Trends Page: 3 of 8
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Figure 1. Relative Contribution of Generation Types to Capacity
Additions in the U.S. and EU
151 GW 277 GW 21 GW 15 GW Total Additions
1 % mOther
ca 40%a Natural Gas
. 20/ I. _
EU US EU US
Driving the growth in the U.S. are a number of factors, including promotional policies.
In particular, 26 states now have renewables portfolio standards (RPS) in which
electricity suppliers are required to source a certain fraction of their electricity from
renewable energy. The federal government, meanwhile, continues to offer a 10-year,
2.1 cent/kWh production tax credit (PTC), though uncertainty in the fate of that policy
has created a boom-and-bust cycle of wind development in the country. The prospect
of future carbon regulations has also helped motivate wind additions in recent years.
Of equal importance to the aforementioned policy drivers has been the improved
economics of wind power relative to fossil fuels which is - in part - dependent on wind
project performance and installed costs. In the U.S., wind project performance has
improved with time. In 2007, for example, wind projects in the U.S. had an average
capacity factor of just over 31%. Those projects installed prior to 1998, however,
maintained an average 2007 capacity factor of just 22%, while those projects installed
from 2004 through 2006 averaged 34% (left-most graphic in Figure 2). Trends in the
installed cost of wind projects are more mixed. Following movements in the overall
power sector, the average installed cost for wind projects in the U.S. has increased
significantly since the early 2000s, from $1,300/kW in 2001 to roughly $1,700/kW in
2007 (and to more than $2,000/kW in 2008) (real 2007$). Nonetheless, even at
$2,000/kW, installed costs remain well below the $4,000/kW average seen in the early
1980s (right-most graphic in Figure 2).
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Wiser, Ryan H. Wind Power Development in the United States: Current Progress, Future Trends, article, October 29, 2008; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc933178/m1/3/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.