Just over 6,600 megawatts of installed wind power capacity exists in the Sooner State – enough to meet about 25% of the state’s annual electricity needs – more than what coal provides. Oklahoma installed nearly 2,000 megawatts in 2016 alone. By the end of the year, Oklahoma became third in the nation for the most wind power installed.
A new market report by the American Wind Energy Association shows that 2016 was a record breaker for the wind industry. And signs are pointing to an equally aggressive 2017. With a total of 8,203 MW of wind energy capacity commissioned during the year, the majority of projects were completed in the last three months. The United States now contains more than 82,000 megawatts of wind power. That’s enough power for the equivalent of roughly 25 million homes.
The time to contract for low cost wind power is now. The largest renewable energy project in the making is a proposed power line that will bring huge amounts of cheap, wind energy to the South, but electric companies must act quickly.
The LBNL report tracks trends in cost and performance among other metrics for the wind energy industry nationwide. Just over 5% of all electricity generated in the country comes from wind power. The average installed price for wind energy capacity is down 24% in just five years.
This year may be the biggest year for wind energy in the South. A number of factors are working together to create a massive market for wind energy all across the country. Some of the important factors include: technology has significantly improved, utilities are becoming more familiar with integrating wind energy, key federal tax incentives have been renewed and utilities are beginning to hedge against risks associated with fossil fuels.
Because of the PTC phaseout, there is a real urgency for wind farm development to begin as soon as possible. Electric utilities that delay purchase of wind energy resources may end up losing hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in ratepayer savings due to a reduction in the federal PTC value.
This week, March Madness kicks off as college basketball teams across the country prepare for the biggest tournament of the year. 64 teams will compete, but only one will take down the net. As you make your picks and finalize your bracket, we have another March Madness competition to bring to your attention: Megawatt Madness! Iberdrola Renewables launched the second annual Megawatt Madness tournament, which highlights 64 of their renewable energy sites across the county.
On Tuesday, February 9th, a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court unexpectedly issued a “stay” blocking the Clean Power Plan – the centerpiece of U.S. action on climate change – until litigation over its legality is finished. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear the case in June, and decide the merits most likely in late summer or the fall. Appeals to the Supreme Court will surely follow. What does the stay order tell us about the Clean Power Plan’s prospects?
On Wednesday, Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), introduced the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016″. As a part of the 2,009-page bill, wind energy and solar energy will now have a long-term federal incentive. But this policy certainty isn’t a hand-out. Congress is gradually phasing-out the federal incentives for wind energy and solar power between now and 2022/2024 (respectively) – something the fossil fuel and nuclear industries aren’t guaranteed to do, too. Wind and solar power prices have become so cost competitive, market analysts expect that renewable energy resources won’t need the federal tax incentives after they expire.
By ignoring the benefits of wind energy, anti-wind activists have concocted a false narrative against the wind energy PTC. Anti-wind activists ignore wind energy benefits including health and air quality improvements (worth 4¢/kWh), fossil fuel price volatility hedging and reduced electric rates (worth 2.3¢/kWh), new local, state and federal tax revenue (a net worth of 0.5¢/kWh) plus water savings (worth 0.2¢/kWh). These otherwise “free” benefits of wind power, and enabled by the wind energy PTC. The facts are clear: wind power’s benefits outweigh any cost associated with the PTC.