The U.S. wind industry installed over 2,500 megawatts of new wind power capacity in the second quarter of 2020, bringing total American capacity to nearly 110,000 MW, the American Wind Energy Association recently said in a new report.
AWEA’s report reveals that despite the significant challenges faced during the pandemic, many U.S. wind developers managed to complete their projects during the three-month period.
Fourteen new wind projects totaling 2,546 MW began operating across nine states during the second quarter. Texas led the country with 810 MW of new wind projects installed. Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska followed. Missouri passed 1,000 MW in total capacity in the second quarter, making it the 20th state to reach the gigawatt milestone. There are now 109,919 MW of operating wind power capacity in the U.S.
Wind power development and construction activity remained strong during the pandemic. This is partially due to additional flexibility from the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) concerning tax credit qualification. Construction activity reached a new record in the second quarter, having built 25,318 MW across the country. Another 18,310 MW are in advanced development. The combined 43,628 MW represents a four percent year-over-year increase from the second quarter of 2019.
Offshore wind has also made substantial advances during the second quarter.
The first wind project in federal waters, the 12 MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project, completed installation of its two turbines in June. The project is currently undergoing testing and will be operational later this year.
Meanwhile, New England investor-owned utilities Eversource Energy and United Illuminating signed contracts for the 804-MW Park City Wind offshore project during the second quarter. As a result of this activity, offshore wind now represents 21 percent of the wind power pipeline at 9,112 MW.
New wind projects installed in the second quarter were already nearing the end of the years-long development process and had the materials and components on hand to complete construction before the COVID-19 pandemic began to create supply chain disruptions for the broader American wind industry, AWEA reported.
New federal IRS guidance provides one additional year of safe harbor tax flexibility for near-term projects.