The US saw the commissioning of a record 2,546 MW of new wind farms in the second quarter of 2020 and kept wind development and construction activity resilient in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
A year earlier, just 899 MW of new wind turbine capacity was brought online, the latest market report by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) shows.
The quarterly record this year was achieved as the vast majority of the commissioned projects had their turbine components in place and were “well under-construction” by the time the pandemic lockdowns were introduced, the organisation said.
Texas was the leader in terms of new capacity additions in the past quarter with 810 MW installed, followed by Kansas with 396 MW and Colorado with 299 MW. Missouri and Nebraska were the other two states in the top-five list after commissioning 242 MW and 231 MW, respectively.
Project owners put one stream 14 new power plants in nine states, thus bringing the country’s cumulative wind installations to 109,919 MW, coming from over 60,000 turbines in 41 states and two US territories. New capacity installations in the first half of the year stood at 4,367 MW, the biggest total for a six-month period.
In June construction activity in the US wind sector reached an all-time high of 25,318 MW after 2,175 MW of projects entered construction and 1,341 MW entered advanced development in the second quarter. Thus, the total capacity of projects under construction or in advanced development at the end of June amounted to 43,628 MW, up 4% on the year. Offshore wind accounts for 21% of the combined pipeline, with 804 MW of projects entering the advanced development stage in the April-June quarter.
Thanks to the extra year granted by the government that allows renewable energy developers to meet safe harbour requirements and qualify for federal tax credits, development and construction activity remained resilient in the face of the pandemic, AWEA said. Still, developers are facing challenges raising tax equity due to the tightened tax equity supply and the complicated economic environment, it added.
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