New DOE Study Shows Soaring Demand for Wind Spurs Significant Expansion in U.S. Manufacturing

July 16, 2009

WASHINGTON – Secretary Chu today announced the release of DOE’s 2008 Wind Technologies Market Report, which shows the United States is the world leader in annual wind energy capacity growth, as well as cumulative wind energy capacity. 

The report, a comprehensive overview of developments in the U.S. wind power market, found that wind power capacity increased by 8,558 megawatts (MW) in 2008. This $16 billion investment in wind projects made the U.S. the fastest-growing wind power market in the world for the fourth consecutive year. Wind power contributed 42% of all new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2008; for the fourth consecutive year, wind power was the second-largest new resource added to the U.S. electrical grid in nameplate capacity.

The report, which has been issued annually since 2007, analyzes a range of developments in the wind market, including trends in wind project installations, turbine size, turbine prices, wind project costs, project performance, and wind power prices. The report also details trends in project financing, a key concern for the wind industry in the current economic climate, as well as trends in project ownership, public policy, and the integration of wind power into the electrical grid. DOE’s report provides the wind industry, state and local policy makers, and the general public with valuable information on the state of wind power in the United States.

Some of the key findings of the report include:

    • The U.S. continues to lead the world in annual capacity growth and overtook Germany to take the lead in cumulative wind capacity.  For the fourth straight year, the United States led the world in wind capacity additions, capturing roughly 30% of the worldwide market.
    • The cumulative wind capacity installed in the U.S. at the end of 2008 would, in an average year, be able to supply roughly 1.9% of the nation’s electricity consumption.
    • Soaring demand for wind has spurred expansion of wind turbine manufacturing in the U.S. As a result of this continued expansion, the American Wind Energy Association estimates that the share of domestically manufactured wind turbine components has grown from less than 30% in 2005 to roughly 50% in 2008, and that roughly 8,400 new domestic manufacturing jobs were added in the wind sector in 2008 alone.
    • Texas led all states with 7,118 MW of total wind capacity installed, followed by Iowa (2791 MW) and California (2517 MW). Seven states now have more than 1,000 MW installed, and 13 have more than 500 MW.
    • Iowa and Minnesota have the highest levels of wind penetration (in-state wind generation as a percentage of all in-state generation). Seven states have wind penetration levels greater than 5%; six utilities have in excess of 10% wind on their systems.
    • Wind power remained competitive in wholesale power markets in 2008, with average wind power prices at or below the low end of the wholesale power market price range, although upward pressure on wind power prices looks set to continue.

Download the full 2008 Wind Technologies Market Report.