The U.S. Department of Energy released the "2010 Wind Technologies Market Report," prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, providing a comprehensive overview of trends in the U.S. wind power market. Despite a trying year in which wind power capacity additions declined significantly compared to both 2008 and 2009, the U.S. remained one of the fastest-growing wind power markets in the world in 2010-second only to China-according to the report.
Wind power comprised 25% of new U.S. electric capacity additions in 2010.
Wind power comprised 25% of new U.S. electric capacity additions in 2010 and represented $11 billion in new investment. Wind power contributes more than 10% of total electricity generation in four states, and provides more than 2% of total U.S. electricity supply.
Roughly 5 GW of new wind power capacity were connected to the U.S. grid in 2010, compared to nearly 10 GW in 2009 and more than 8 GW in 2008. "The delayed impact of the global financial crisis, relatively low natural gas and wholesale electricity prices, and slumping overall demand for energy combined to slow demand for new wind power installations in 2010," said Ryan Wiser, a scientist at Berkeley Lab and one of the authors of the study.
Some key findings of the study include:
- Due to the size and promise of the U.S. market, wind turbine manufacturers continued to localize production domestically in 2010, despite the relatively slow year.
- A growing percentage of the equipment used in U.S. wind power projects is domestically manufactured.
- Wind turbine prices have declined substantially since 2008.
- Technological advancements have improved wind turbine performance, particularly at lower wind speed sites.
- Turbine price reductions, coupled with improved turbine technology, are expected to exert downward pressure on total project costs and wind power prices over time.
- Looking ahead, projections are for modest growth in 2011 and 2012.
Berkeley Lab's contributions to this report were funded by the Wind & Water Power Program, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy. The full report ("2010 Wind Technologies Market Report"), a presentation slide deck that summarizes the report, and an Excel workbook that contains much of the data underlying the report, can all be downloaded from the Berkely Lab website.