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

  • The cumulative capacity of installed wind power totaled 92 GW at the beginning of 2018 (Q1).
  • As of early 2018, over 29 GW of wind power capacity are under construction.
  • Wind energy is increasingly competitive without subsidies. Demand for wind energy is enhanced by state requirements known as Renewable Portfolio Standards. On the federal level, wind energy is supported by through the so-called production tax credit.
  • More than 500 facilities are manufacturing components for the wind industry, the majority are in the Great Lakes region (as of Q4 2017).
  • The turbine market is dominated by a few large players; GE Energy, Vestas, and Siemens hold a combined market share of about 99% for new installations (as of Q4 2017).
  • 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 Q4 2017, a total of 74 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.

Last updated: June 2018.

Contact

Corinna Jess

Director, Consulting Services & Trade Missions

Chicago

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