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U.S. wind power has best Q1 since 2009

by Jody Barhanovich

The U.S. wind power industry had its best first quarter since 2009, according to American Wind Energy Association’s U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2017 Market Report.

The U.S wind industry installed 908 utility-scale turbines in the first quarter of 2017, totaling 2,000 megawatts of capacity, nearly four times the amount installed in first quarter 2016.

“We switched on more megawatts in the first quarter than in the first three quarters of last year combined,” says Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, in a statement.

New project construction and development activity is growing as well, due to the fact that the federal production tax credit for wind projects does not expire until 2020. There are 9,025 megawatts of wind projects under construction and an additional 11,952 megawatts in advanced development, according to the report.

Texas was the top location for wind installations in the first quarter 2017, followed by Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina and Michigan.

Demand remained strong in the first quarter 2017 as well, with 1,781 megawatts signed in long-term contracts for wind energy, the most in a first quarter since 2013, according the report. Around 25 percent of the megawatts installed in first quarter 2017 are contracted to buyers outside the utility industry, including the U.S. Army, Amazon.com and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Companies such as Home Depot and Intuit have also signed contracts for new wind projects for the first time in the first quarter 2017.

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