DOE Releases First Annual Report on U.S. Wind Power Market

May 31, 2007

DOE released its first annual report on developments and trends in the U.S. wind power market on May 31st. The publication, "Annual Report on U.S. Wind Power Installation, Cost, and Performance Trends: 2006," analyzes trends in the marketplace, including project costs, turbine sizes, and developer consolidation. The report concludes that wind power is competitive and has been consistently priced at or below the price of electricity produced at fossil-fueled or nuclear power plants. Wind project performance has also been increasing due to improved project siting and technological advances in wind turbines.

The report notes that U.S. wind power capacity increased by 27 percent in 2006 and that the United States had the fastest-growing wind power capacity in the world in 2005 and 2006. For the second straight year, the United States led the world by installing 2,454 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity in 2006—16 percent of the capacity installed worldwide that year—followed by Germany, India, Spain, and China. Leading the way in annual capacity growth in the United States are Texas, Washington, and California. The report also notes that GE Energy is the dominant wind turbine manufacturer for the U.S. market, although it is facing increasing competition from both domestic and foreign companies, several of which are building manufacturing facilities in the United States. See the DOE press release, the complete report (PDF 2.5 MB), and a summary presentation about the report (PDF 2.9 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

Photo of a wind turbine.

Clipper Windpower's 2.5-megawatt Liberty wind turbine is the largest produced in the United States.
Credit: Clipper Windpower

As evidence of increasing growth and competition in the U.S. wind power market, GE Energy is in the process of shipping 267 1.5-MW turbines to FPL Energy for use at the Peetz Table Wind Energy Center in Colorado, and on Monday shipped its 1,000th 1.5-MW wind turbine to FPL Energy. Meanwhile a Spanish competitor, Acciona Windpower, is building an assembly plant in West Branch, Iowa, that will produce 250 1.5-MW wind turbines per year starting in 2008. Other foreign competition comes from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which just announced U.S. orders for 788 wind turbines with a collective capacity of 1,363.4 MW; Suzlon Wind Energy Company, which is delivering 400 MW of wind turbines to PPM Energy; and Vestas Wind Systems A/S, which has received an order for 50 3-MW wind turbines from BP Alternative Energy. On the domestic front, Clipper Windpower, Inc. just commissioned eight of its new 2.5-MW Liberty wind turbines for a project near Buffalo, New York, and has announced firm and contingent orders for 2,240 Liberty wind turbines over the next five years. Manufactured in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Liberty wind turbines are the largest produced in the United States. See the press releases from GE Energy, Acciona Windpower, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Suzlon (PDF 29 KB), and Vestas (PDF 21 KB), and the Clipper Windpower press releases on the turbine commissioning (PDF 36 KB) and the prospective sales (PDF 42 KB).