Estados Unidos instalará en 2009 unos 5.000 megavatios, frente a los 8.500 MW de 2008

Estados Unidos, a pesar de la crisis y las restricciones financieras, instaló 2.800 megavatios en el primer trimestre de 2009, según la AWEA, alcanzando ya 28.206 MW eólicos.

En 2030 el 20 por ciento de la electricidad procederá de la energía eólica, y puede que incluso más, gracias a los vehículos eléctricos y los híbridos enchufables, junto al desarrollo de las redes inteligente y la V2G.

El potencial eólico de Estados Unidos es inmenso, muy superior a todo el consumo eléctrico. España empezó antes y pudo desarrollar un tejido industrial y empresarial, y es el primer inversor extranjero en energía eólica en EE UU. La presencia española en este país es importante.

Gamesa es el cuarto productor de aerogeneradores en Estados Unidos, y cuenta con una fábrica en Pennsylvania. Acciona había instalado hasta 2008 un total de 485 MW eólicos en cinco parques en propiedad en EE UU, y tiene 70 parques eólicos en distintos niveles de construcción y desarrollo en 18 estados.

Iberdrola Renovables está presente en 14 estados, con un total de 2.876 MW eólicos, el 31% del total de la empresa en el mundo y un 17% de todo lo instalado en EE UU. En 2008, instaló 1.337 MW. El 41% de toda la cartera de proyectos de la empresa eléctrica, unos 22.600 MW, están ubicados en EE UU.

Estados Unidos, a pesar de la crisis y las restricciones financieras, instaló 2.800 megavatios en los primeros tres meses 2009, según la Asociación Eólica Estadounidense (AWEA), y llegará a unos 5.000 megavatios a lo largo de 2009.

Estados Unidos ya tiene instalados 28.206 MW de potencia eólica, siendo el primer país del mundo, tras superar a España y a Alemania, pero China le pisa los talones, y no sufre las restricciones financieras de Estados Unidos.

En el primer trimestre de 2009, Kansas y Nueva York han superado los 1.000 MW acumulados, elevando a nueve los estados con más 1.000 MW.

Texas sigue aumentando su liderazgo con 585 MW nuevos, llegando a una potencia acumulada de 7.907 MW; le sigue Iowa, con 2.883 MW. Indiana instaló 400 MW (crecimiento del 75%). Otros estados reseñables son Maine (55%), Nebraska (53%) e Idaho (49%).


Wind: A leading source of new electricity generation

Wind power is now one of the country’s largest sources of new power generation of any kind. In 2008, with over 8,500 megawatts (MW) installed, wind power provided 42% of all the new generating capacity added in the U.S., according to initial estimates, up from less than 2% of new capacity added in 2004.

The fact that wind power is now mainstream is good news for our economy, our environment, and our energy security. An economic and job dynamo for the 21st century The new wind projects installed in 2008 represent an investment of $17 billion – the largest capital investment in the U.S. electricity sector that year. Hundreds of billions of dollars in investment – in wind project installations, wind turbine component manufacturing facilities, and transmission infrastructure to bring the new electricity to market – are poised to flow into the economy as wind power production ramps up.

Wind power is also a job creation dynamo, creating 35,000 jobs in 2008 alone despite the economic downturn and providing a broad range of business and employment opportunities in different regions of the country. About 85,000 people worked in the wind energy industry as of the end of December 2008, up from 50,000 in 2007. Many of those new jobs are in manufacturing.

Protecting our environment

Wind power is a powerful climate change solution, ready to deliver emissions reductions that are (a) large in scale, (b) effective immediately, and (c) affordable. A 2008 report by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) found that wind energy could generate 20% of the nation’s electricity – what nuclear power generates today – by 2030 – nor is that a ceiling. Rapid deployment is urgently needed from an environmental point of view alone: the power generation sector is the largest contributor of CO2 emissions in the U.S. economy, accounting for close to 40% of U.S. emissions each year. As concerns about climate change become more urgent, wind power is an excellent option for rapidly and cost-effectively reducing emissions.

Strengthening our energy security

Wind is a domestic, inexhaustible source of energy, and is free from fuel price volatility. U.S. wind resources are also vast enough to supply the electricity needs of the entire country several times over, according to DOE. This domestic and infinite source of energy can be used not only for conventional power generation, but also for plug-in hybrids or electric vehicles, helping reduce dependence on a variety of fuel imports and conserve strategic national supplies.

Key: long-term federal policy commitment

Wind power now needs a large U.S.-wide market in which to grow and provide these benefits. With the right policies to sustain renewable energy’s momentum – including a national renewable electricity standard to create a stable market for capital investment, an interstate network of transmission lines or “green power superhighways” to bring renewable energy to market, and strong climate legislation with early and aggressive emissions reductions targets – the U.S. wind energy industry is ready to deliver on President Obama’s call to double production in three years and on track to generate 20% of electricity and more, leveraging billions in investment and creating tens of thousands of jobs.

Strong renewable energy policy = Strong economic benefits

President Obama has outlined as a candidate a range of policies to encourage investments in wind and other renewable energy sources, including (

A national renewable electricity standard (RES) with a target of generating at least 25% of the nation’s electricity from renewables by 2025, and a near-term target of 10% by 2012 (a Washington Post poll in December 2008 found that 84% of Americans support such a standard);

A high-voltage interstate transmission “superhighway” to tap the nation’s vast renewable energy sources; and

National climate change legislation that recognizes the value of wind power in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Job creation, climate change and public health, and energy security imperatives are the main drivers for renewable energy policy. It’s also important to note that renewable energy policies pay for themselves over time on a macroeconomic basis even without factoring in the value of these job creation, environmental and other benefits.

Wind helps drive down the cost of electricity and protects against fuel price risk

Wind power does not need any fuel for its operations. Wind power therefore “backs down” more expensive sources of generation –that is, those that are the most expensive at the margin because of variable fuel costs. In large, competitive markets, this lowers the electricity market price for all generators. Renewable energy protects customers when they need it the most: when gas or other fossil fuel prices rise.

Studies confirm that renewable energy protects consumers:

A 2009 Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) study estimates that under a 25% national renewable electricity standard, all other things being equal, average consumer electricity prices would be 7.6% lower, with an average annual reduction of 4.3% through 2030.

A 2007 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) study on 25% renewables by 2025 also shows a reduction in consumer expenditures.

A 2007 study by global energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie on a 15% national RES found that electricity prices would decrease by 7%-11%.

Transmission lines for renewable energy pay for themselves

Studies by regional authorities in Texas, the Midwest and Eastern U.S., Southwest Power Pool, and elsewhere show that, thanks to fuel savings, lower congestion costs and other benefits, investment in transmission lines for renewable energy more than pays for itself on a macroeconomic basis.

Wind helps drive down the cost of natural gas

Using wind power on a large scale means that less fuel (mainly natural gas and coal) is used for electricity generation. This in turn applies downward pressure on the price of fuel itself. If wind were to generate 20% of U.S. electricity by 2030, nationwide use of natural gas use would decline by an estimated 11% and natural gas consumers (home heating, industrial use) could see savings of $86 billion to $214 billion. This saving alone offsets the incremental investment of $43 billion in wind turbines and additional transmission lines, according to the DOE report on 20% wind by 2030.

It is not expensive to balance wind power

With flexible power on the electricity system (such as natural gas-fired plants that can easily be turned down or up), with large regional balancing areas, and with wind forecasting techniques, large amounts of wind energy and other variable renewable energy sources can be integrated onto the grid. The DOE report on 20% wind by 2030 confirmed that level of wind power could reliably and cost-effectively be integrated into the nation’s electricity supply, while reducing fossil fuel use in power plants across the U.S.

Wind wealth accrues nationwide

Wind power development creates economic opportunity across the country and across sectors. Wind projects in windy rural areas generate local construction and wind technician jobs, increase landowner and farmer income, and revitalize the rural communities in which they are located. Wind power also creates manufacturing jobs across the country, often in the Southeast or in rust belt states. Last but not least, wind turbines operate without pollution and with minimal impacts, helping maintain natural wealth.

Growth rate for wind power: from red-hot in 2008…

In 2008, wind installations increased by an even larger rate (50% with 8,545 MW added) than they did in 2007 (45%, with 5,249 MW added), bumping up wind power’s five-year average annual growth rate (2004-2008) to 32%. The previous five-year average annual growth rate (2003-2007) was 29%.

… to hot in 2009, depending on economic and policy developments

AWEA estimates that wind power installations will grow by 5,000 MW (20%) or more this year. The outlook will depend on how effectively stimulus measures for wind power are implemented, and how quickly and effectively renewable energy policies are
put in place for the long term. On that front, hopes run high, as President Obama has signaled a dramatic and welcome shift in
favor of renewable energy technologies.

Enacting such policies is now the challenge. The key policy that the industry is urging be adopted immediately is a national renewable electricity standard (RES), to provide a U.S.-wide, long-term signal for capital investment.

U.S. #1 in the world

With a total of 25,369 MW in operation at the end of 2008, the U.S. pulled ahead of long-time leader Germany (23,902 MW) both
inwind energy production and in cumulative wind power generating capacity. The U.S. is also the world’s largest market in terms of
new installations (8,545 MW) added in 2008, ahead of China (6,300 MW). Next goal: to be among the leaders in wind power as a share of total electricity supply?

“Baseload” plants make way for “flexible & diverse” power mix

Close to 90% of all new U.S. generation capacity added since 2005 has been a combination of natural gas and wind power
(see chart on front page). The U.S. electric industry faces dramatic transformations as it wrestles with the challenges of
the 21st century. The old paradigm that assumed “baseload” power plants were necessary for reliability is making way for a
new trend where demand and supply are managed in tandem, with supply consisting of a diverse, clean mix including a high
level of renewable and flexible technologies.

Over 5,000 turbines were brought online in 2008. The average capacity of wind turbines installed in 2008 was 1.67 MW, a slight increase from 2007 (1.60 MW). The most widely installed model (over half of the turbines installed) was 1.5 MW in capacity, and
the largest reached 3 MW (in Kansas). With a variety of models in the 2-MW-to 3-MW range now hitting the market, average
turbine size could leap up in the next year or two.

Larger turbines generate proportionally more power, helping drive down its cost. “World’s largest operating wind power project” title
will be hotly contested this year

At least one new project may surpass Horse Hollow wind farm, which has been the world’s largest for three years running. One
project under expansion, by E.ON Climate & Renewables (EC&R) North America, currently scheduled to go online in mid-2009,
would have a total capacity of 781.5 megawatts (MW) when it is completed. The Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, located in
Taylor and Nolan counties,
Texas, claimed the title in 2006 with a total of 736 MW of capacity.

A few gigawatt-size projects (in the thousands of megawatts) are in the pipeline but will take several years to be developed. Strategic positioning in midst of financial crisis Financing for wind projects had dried up to a trickle by the beginning of 2009 because of the financial and economic downturn, with thousands of megawatts in the pipeline stalled due to lack of capital. However, because of the industry’s strong fundamentals and the support for renewable energy from the Obama Administration, in spring of 2009 the industry was beginning to see movement again, and believes it can emerge from the economic and financial crisis in an even stronger comparative position for the long term.

Large, competitive U.S. market attracts new players

The number of utility-scale wind turbine manufacturers with sales in the U.S. increased to 14 in 2008 (GE, Vestas, Siemens, Suzlon,
Gamesa, Clipper, Mitsubishi, Acciona, Repower, Fuhrlander, DeWind,AWE, Entegrity, DES), up from 8 in 2007 and 6 in 2005.

New companies entering the U.S. wind power market, balance out the recent trend in mergers and acquisitions among wind project owners and developers.

Domestic manufacturing on the rise

Of the top ten global utility-scale wind turbine manufacturers in 2007 (Vestas, GE, Gamesa, Enercon, Suzlon, Siemens, Acciona, Goldwind, Nordex, Sinovel), six (Vestas, GE, Gamesa, Suzlon, Siemens, Acciona) now have a U.S. manufacturing presence, soon to be followed by a seventh (Nordex) . Even more dramatic is the rise in domestic wind turbine component manufacturing, the companies that make materials and components for wind turbines. More than 70 manufacturing facilities were opened, expanded or announced in the past two years (2007-2008), including over 55 in 2008 alone.

This domestic job creation is driven by two factors:

Growth in the U.S. wind market (over 8,500 MW installed in 2008, up from over 5,200 MW installed in 2007); and

Continually increasing share of domestically made components (the U.S is approaching 50% domestic component production for the average wind turbine installed in the U.S. today, up from under 30% in 2005).

Wind power is one of the cleanest and most environmentally benign energy sources in the world today. Using wind as an energy source offers many ecosystem and health benefits, especially compared to conventional forms of electricity production.

More stable climate: Wind power generates electricity without emitting gases that cause global warming, such as carbon dioxide. Increasing our use of wind power to 20% of U.S. electricity supply by 2030 would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity  generation by 825 million metric tons or 25 % in 2030, the equivalent of taking 140 million vehicles off the road, and could avoid an estimated $98 billion in CO2 regulation cost. Wind power also has one of the lowest greenhouse gas lifecycle emissions of any energy technology.

Clean air: Compared to fossil power plants, wind power does not emit pollutants that contribute to acid rain and smog. Almost half of all Americans live in counties where unhealthy levels of smog place them at risk for decreased lung function and aggravation of respiratory illness, according the American Lung Association.

Popular energy source: 82% of Americans support wind projects in their hometown, up from 76% a year ago, according to a 2009 Saint Index survey. Residents in the Midwest showed the greatest support, at 86%. Even though acceptance of all kinds of power plants has risen recently, only 43% of respondents said they support other types of local power projects.

Clean water and more of it: Wind power does not contaminate water with pollutants like mercury, or require water for cooling or for steam to drive turbines. If wind were to provide 20% of our electricity by 2030, water use by the electricity sector would be cut by 17% inthat year. Wind power makes it possible to meet our energy needs without further polluting or diminishing valuable water resources.

Light footprint: Wind projects do not cause extraction and transportation of fuels, or production of hazardous or toxic solid wastes, ash or slurry. Most land uses (typically farming or ranching) continue as before below the wind turbines.

Environmental stewardship: Beyond the built-in advantage of its product, the wind energy industry continues to focus on environmental performance. Field studies continue to show relatively low bird mortality. The industry is also addressing issues as they arise, including research on solutions to bat collisions with wind turbines with Bat Conservation International, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory through the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative.


Wind power in the United States

As of April 30, 2009, wind power in the United States reached 28,635 MW megawatts (MW) of installed capacity, and the U.S. surpassed Germany as the country with the largest amount of wind power capacity installed by the end of 2008. The American Wind Energy Association has reported that wind projects installed through the end of 2008 were expected to generate 52 million megawatt-hours/year (MWh/yr), representing 1.26% of the nation’s electricity in 2008. Texas, with 7,116 MW of capacity, has the most wind power capacity of any U.S. state, followed by Iowa with 2,790 MW. The Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center (735 MW) in Texas is the world’s largest wind farm.

Over 8,500 MW of new wind power capacity was brought online in 2008, increasing the nation’s cumulative total by 50%. These new installations place the U.S. on a trajectory to generate 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030 from wind energy, as long as there is continued government policy support for the industry. Growth in 2008 channeled some $17 billion into the economy, positioning wind power as one of the leading sources of new power generation in the country, along with natural gas. New wind projects completed in 2008 account for about 42% of the entire new power-producing capacity added in the U.S. during the year.

At the end of 2008, about 85,000 people were employed in the U.S. wind industry, and GE Energy was the largest domestic wind turbine manufacturer. Wind projects boosted local tax bases, and revitalized the economy of rural communities by providing a steady income stream to farmers with wind turbines on their land.

The industry installed over 2,800 MW of new generating capacity in the first quarter of 2009, with new wind farms completed in 15 states and powering the equivalent of 816,000 homes. The total wind power generating capacity in operation in the U.S. is enough to serve over 8 million homes and avoid 52 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually—the equivalent of removing 8.8 million cars from the road.

At the end of 2008, the U.S. wind power nameplate capacity became the largest in the world, followed by Germany, with Spain a close third. Because U.S. wind farms have a higher average capacity factor than those in Germany due to higher average wind speeds, the U.S. became the world’s largest producer of energy from the wind in mid-2008.

Wind power is growing rapidly worldwide and U.S. capacity has more than doubled in the past three years. Doubling U.S. wind energy capacity over the next three years would imply no change in annual growth. Doubling U.S. renewable energy over the next three years will, however imply a very significant growth, as only one-eighth of renewable energy was from wind in 2008, and little growth impact is expected due to any other renewable source. The largest projects are in Texas, the Great Plains, and California, with smaller projects either underway or under consideration in many states.

As of December 2008, Texas (7,116 MW) was the state with the most wind capacity installed, followed by Iowa (2,790 MW), and California (2,517 MW).

The largest operational wind farm is the 736 MW Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas. The Pampa Wind Farm is scheduled to surpass it by 2011.

Year-U.S. MW
1999 -2,500 MW
2000 -2,566 MW
2001 -4,261 MW
2002 -4,685 MW
2003 -6,374 MW
2004 -6,740 MW
2005 -9,149 MW
2006 -11,575 MW
2007 -16,596 MW
2008 -25,176 MW
2009-30,000  MW (p)

Tax credits

A federal production tax credit (PTC) of $19 per MWh generated for the first ten years for wind energy sold as well as RPS mandating a certain percentage of electricity sales come from renewable energy sources in about half of the states has boosted the development of the wind industry. In 2008 a 131 foot wind turbine blade was on display first outside the Democratic National Convention in Denver and then the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.

At the time the wind power tax credit was due to expire at the end of the year, and the display was intended to bring awareness to the wind industry. Each year that the tax credit has not been renewed well before it expires the number of installations has dropped significantly the following year, and since it was not renewed until October 3, it is expected that 2009 will as well see a slowing of construction starts.

The 30% tax credit for installing photovoltaics was extended at the same time for eight years, but wind for only one year. The industry has asked for a long term extension, in order to provide stability, particularly because projects of long lead times for project development and construction (2 to 3 years of wind data collection, 2 years lead time on turbine orders, and 6 to 9 months for construction.)

A recent effort has ensued to make the production tax credit either refundable or transferable. Because wind energy projects do not provide returns sufficient to capture the full value of the PTC on their own, the PTCs are not currently refundable or tradable, the owner of a wind energy project must either have profits from other activities to provide "tax appetite" or include a tax equity partner in the project financing. In the fourth quarter of 2008 the cost of tax equity capital shot up as a response to the global credit crisis, making the cost of energy from wind energy projects increase by 10% or more.