US demand for wind turbine systems is forecast to increase 55 percent annually through 2018 to $18.9 billion, a nearly ninefold increase over depressed 2013 sales according a a new report by RnR Market Research. Demand was adversely affected in 2013 by the record number of sales, valued at more than $25 billion, the previous year.
The number of new installations in 2012 nearly doubled the amount of new installed capacity in 2011. This spike in sales was the result of electric utilities and other entities pushing up the timeline of many wind turbine projects to take advantage of the production tax credit, which was due to expire at the end of 2012. As a result, when the production tax credit was renewed in January 2013, there were few orders left in the pipeline. In fact, through the first three quarters of 2013, less than 75 megawatts of new wind power capacity was added in the US.
The fourth quarter of 2013 saw a rush of installations similar to 2012, albeit to a significantly lesser degree, as firms again sought to take advantage of the expiring production tax credit. However, the production tax credit was left to expire at the end of 2013 and, as of March 2014, there has been no attempt to renew it.
Renewable Energy Standards to Drive Growth
Going forward, advances in wind turbine system sales will be driven by the need for most states to achieve renewable portfolio standard benchmarks through 2018 and beyond. In addition, growth will benefit from ongoing demand for small wind turbine systems from a small base, as well as continuing interest in developing renewable energy resources that are cleaner and not subject to fuel price shocks. The emerging off-shore wind industry, which is expected to see its first significant wind turbine installation during the forecast period, will provide further gains. However, the uncertain future of the federal production tax credit and other incentives for wind energy will serve to prevent even more robust sales.
Onshore Applications Nearly Universal
With the exception of a single small-scale prototype turbine off the coast of Maine in June 2013, all of the wind turbine systems installed in the US in 2013 were for onshore applications. Local opposition, concerns about cost, and a developing regulatory process have postponed the installation of the country’s first offshore wind farm. However, this is expected to change going forward, as a number of projects are progressing toward the installation stage.
All US Regions to Experience Growth
The Northeast had the lowest amount of installed wind energy capacity in the US in 2013, but is expected to benefit from the installation of the nation’s first offshore wind turbines. In addition, electricity costs in the Northeast are among the highest in the country, spurring the installation of renewable energy sources such as wind. On the other hand, the South has a lot of available land with strong wind resources for wind farm development, particularly in Texas, a state that also has favorable regulations that entice utilities to develop wind farms. The ongoing trend of constructing wind farms in the West South Central and Mountain subregions and delivering the electricity to neighboring states will provide further impetus for growth.
Complete report is available at http://www.rnrmarketresearch.com/wind-turbine-systems-to-2018-market-report.html.
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.