U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Weatherization & Intergovernmental Program
Global Wind Power Capacity Grew 20 Percent in 2004
March 16, 2005
The global wind power industry installed nearly 8,000 megawatts (MW)
of new wind turbines in 2004, according to the Global Wind Energy
Council (GWEC). The 20 percent growth in global wind power capacity is
actually somewhat lower than in 2002 and 2003, when the world wind
capacity grew by 28 percent and 26 percent, respectively. According to
GWEC, the slower growth is largely due to a slowdown in the United
States, caused by last year's expiration of the production tax credit
for wind power (the credit was renewed this year, but will expire
again at year's end). With the U.S. slowdown, Europe continued to
dominate the world wind power market, installing 5,774 MW that
accounted for 72.4 percent of the growth in 2004. Total world wind
capacity is now at 47,317 MW, with 16,629 MW in Germany, 8,263 MW in
Spain, and 6,740 MW in the United States. See the GWEC press release.
As many wind power developers in the United States rush to take
advantage of the production tax credit, one project was recently
completed: Catamount Energy's 91.5-MW Sweetwater 2 project, located
west of Abilene, Texas, achieved commercial operation in February.
Among the many projects underway is a 151-MW expansion of the 74.25-MW
Blue Canyon Wind Farm near Lawton, Oklahoma. The Vestas Group is
providing 84 1.8-MW wind turbines for the project, which Zilkha
Renewable Energy expects to complete in December. Public Service
Company of Oklahoma is buying all the wind power from the project.
Another project aiming for a year-end completion is the 120-MW San
Juan Mesa Wind Project, near Elida, New Mexico, about 65 miles
northeast of Roswell. Xcel Energy recently agreed to buy all the power
from the project, which is being developed by Padoma Wind Power. Xcel
Energy also announced in late February that it will buy all the power
from a 12-MW wind project near Velva in central North Dakota.
Construction of that project is expected to begin this summer. See the
press releases from Catamount Energy, Vestas,
the Public Service Company of Oklahoma,
Padoma Wind Power, and Xcel Energy.
Taking the longer view, Washington State's Last Mile Electric
Cooperative has submitted the permit application for a 200-MW wind
plant in Klickitat County, just north of the Columbia River near Roosevelt.
If the White Creek Project is approved, the cooperative plans to complete it by
the end of 2006. And in New York, plans are underway for the 27-MW
Adirondack Wind Energy Park, slated to be built about 80 miles north
of Albany in 2007. See the press release and
White Creek Project description from the Last Mile Electric Cooperative, and visit the Adirondack Wind Energy Park Web site.