Ten years ago, did anyone think wind power would provide 35% of all new generation in the USA from 2005 to 2010 or that 40,181 megawatts of wind would be running today, enough for 10 million homes, and equal to 2.3% of all electricity? None of the top forecasts from the Energy Information Agency did, and the EIA had lots of company. From the perspective of 10 years ago, wind's boom is extraordinary.
And the future for wind is one of growth in the USA, because the industry has driven down its costs and makes bigger, more efficient turbines.
In 2011, wind power is cost competitive with new gas and below the cost of a new coal plant. According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind projects can be financed with an average power purchase agreement of 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Deals are being done a bit above and below that average.
Awea also reported that 5,600 megawatts of wind power is under construction around the country right now or twice the amount at this stage of last year.
Total national wind power capacity increased by 15% in 2010 over 2009, though the amount built in 2010 fell 50% compared to the record year of 2009, when an incredible 10,000 megawatts were constructed.
The amount of electricity coming from wind in 2010 jumped nearly 30% compared to 2009 as all the turbines built in 2009 made power in 2010.
Over the next 10 years, wind power will be a mainstream power production choice and will continue to provide a large part of America's new generation capacity.