July 27 (Renewables Now) - The US wind industry deployed 626 MW of new capacity in the second quarter of 2018 and reached the record 18,987 MW for projects under construction at the end of June, according to figures from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
A total of 5,322 MW of projects moved into the construction phase in April-June and 3,901 MW of new capacity entered advanced development. The record capacity under construction comes on the back of rising demand for low-cost wind power from utilities and other buyers, among which are major corporate players.
Overall, there were 37,794 MW of projects under construction or in advanced development at the end of last month, representing a 13% increase on a quarterly basis. Projects currently being in advanced development are expected to move into construction in the near term, AWEA said.
The 626 MW of new capacity added in the past three months bring installations since the start of 2018 to 1,032 MW. According to the statistics, the US now has 90,004 MW of installed wind capacity with a combined output that is enough to supply over 27 million average households.
During the quarter, project developers signed a total of 1,524 MW power purchase agreements (PPAs) that lifted the overall volume of contracted wind power through PPAs by 44% as compared to the first half of 2017. Corporate buyers accounted for 56% of the contracted capacity, while utilities were responsible for the rest. Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT), AT&T (NYSE:T), baking company Grupo Bimbo and pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co Inc (NYSE:MRK) all signed power off-take deals in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, utilities announced plans to develop and own 1,491 MW of wind farms. These include 591 MW of plants as part of MidAmerican Energy Co’s 2-GW Wind XI project in Iowa and Ameren Missouri’s 400-MW High Prairie project in Missouri.
AWEA also said that the quarter has witnessed positive developments in the offshore wind segment, reaching “new heights” in three New England states. Those are Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut that awarded a total of 1,400 MW of offshore wind projects following competitive bidding.