Wind Generation Sees a Temporary Slowdown

According to a new report from S&P Global Market Intelligence, renewable power developers energized half as much wind power capacity in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the same period one year ago.

“It was one of the slowest quarters in at least five years, with only 288 MW of new wind power capacity connected to U.S. electric grids,” said the report. This figure stands in contrast with the surge in solar energy installations in the third quarter of 2023. In addition, noted the report, the low wind project situation is an aberration from the first two quarters of 2023, when developers commissioned a combined 2,871 MW of new wind capacity.

In addition, as of the third quarter, 2023 overall has been slower than the prior year. Developers in the first three quarters added 3,159 MW, compared with 5,361 MW of capacity added in the first three quarters of 2022.

Wind energy took off in the 2010s and now contributes approximately 10 percent to the U.S. electricity supply, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “More recently, though, solar power capacity additions have outpaced that of wind, as renewable energy developers look to take advantage of large markets where the sun shines bright, such as in Texas,” said the report. “The boom in battery storage installations, often co-located next to solar energy generators, has also contributed to more demand for solar energy in states looking to decarbonize power grids.”

This is not the beginning of the end of wind, though. The report went on to note, with new federal incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act, 2024 looks brighter for wind developers, with 17,040 MW scheduled for commissioning next year. Of that capacity, 2,736 MW is already under construction.

In the third quarter of 2023, the five-year pipeline for wind shrank to 72,885 MW, from 79,972 MW in the second quarter.

Looking ahead, however, of the total pipeline for projects for 2023 to 2027, about 11 percent, or 8,358 MW, is under construction; 23 percent, or 16,403 MW, is in advanced development; 43 percent, or 31,559 MW, is in early development; and 23 percent, or 16,564 MW, represent projects in the announced phase.

In terms of how it measures project construction progress, S&P Global Market Intelligence considers a project as under construction when building activity has begun, Site preparation does not qualify. Projects in advanced development must meet two of five criteria: financing is in place, power purchase agreements are signed, equipment is secured, required permits are approved, or a contractor has signed on to the project. A project is in early development after permitting begins. An announced project must have a listing in an interconnection queue with an accompanying public announcement or permitting action.


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