Wind Energy in the USA

Many regions of the United States have excellent wind resources. According to industry experts, there are around 25% more wind resources in the US than in Europe. In addition to the coastal waters and the Great Lakes, the windiest regions are located in the so-called “wind corridor” in the middle of the country.

Both in terms of installed and planned wind power capacity, as well as the number of component manufacturers, the Midwest is the most important region of the United States for the wind industry.

In terms of installed capacity, the US is the world’s largest wind energy market after China.

Average Annual Wind Speeds in the United States (height of 80 meters)

Source: DOE, AWS Truepower, NREL

Important Market Data, Trends & Developments

  • By the beginning of 2016, installed wind power capacity totaled 74.5 GW.
  • During the first quarter of 2016, the U.S. wind industry installed 520 MW of wind power capacity, the strongest first quarter for installations since 2012
  • Over 15.2 GW of wind power capacity are under construction. For the year 2016, the U.S. wind industry expects new installations of 6 - 8 GW of wind power capacity in 2016.
  • Demand for wind energy is mainly driven by state requirements known as Renewable Portfolio Standards.
  • In 2016, more than 500 facilities are manufacturing components for the wind industry, the majority located in the Great Lakes region.
  • The turbine market is dominated by a few large players; in 2015, GE Energy, Vestas, and Siemens held a combined market share of about 99%.
  • The market for project development has many players. Between Q1 2011 and Q1 2016, over 100 different project developers brought wind farms online. Project developers are responsible for the construction, financing, and operation of wind projects.
  • Many project developers also operate wind farms. They act as Independent Power Producers (IPP) and sell the wind power to regional power companies through so-called power purchase agreements.
  • Most wind farms are located in the Midwestern states and Texas. The typical market size of individual projects in the US is 100 MW and more.

Market Opportunities for German Companies

  • Component manufacturers: Market opportunities exist both in the market for new turbine supply, as well as for existing turbines (spare parts). This includes the following components: measurement and control technology, software (including simulation software), braking systems, generators, and gearbox technology.
  • Service & Maintenance: The U.S. market for service and maintenance is expected to grow rapidly in the upcoming years. By 2020, the US market volume for service & maintenance is projected to total over $3.8 bn. older turbines contain many imported components from Europe. In this regard, maintenance companies with specialist knowledge of European component technology hold a competitive advantage.
  • Offshore planning: By Q1 2016, a total of 58 offshore wind projects in numerous states were in varying phases of the development process. Experienced German companies that provide offshore wind measurement services, offshore feasibility studies, and/or offshore project development services hold a competitive advantage.
  • Grid integration: There are also opportunities for German companies involved in the grid integration of wind farms, including interconnection and grid management. Usually, it is the project developer’s responsibility to connect a wind farm to the grid. Therefore, the project developer or engineering procurement construction partner is the appropriate contact for business related to grid connection.

Organizations & Links

  • The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is based in Washington, DC and is the national association for wind energy in the United States. AWEA is the organizer of the annual WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition and regularly publishes key industry data.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) manages numerous research programs for renewable energies. It also maintains the so-called DSIRE database containing all support programs for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • The DOE also oversees the Energy Information Administration, which publishes statistics on U.S. energy production.

Contact

Corinna Jess

Director, Consulting Services & Trade Missions

Chicago

+1 (312) 665-0976
+1 (312) 644-0738
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