Friday, June 01, 2007

Deep Information on U.S. Wind Market

Ryan Wiser and Mark Bolinger of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have released their first annual report on the U.S. wind power market (with a summary PowerPoint). Great stuff, full of insightful statistics and observations. I'll mention just a few to whet your appetite:

  • Wind power amounted to 19% of the new nameplate electric generating capacity added in the U.S. in 2006, second only to natural gas as a new power source.

  • The U.S. ranked first in the world in new wind capacity installed in 2006 at 2,454 MW. In total cumulative wind capacity, however, the U.S. (11,575 MW) still trails well behind Germany (20,652 MW) and a hair behind Spain (11,614 MW). (My guess is that we will pass Spain, at least temporarily, by the end of this year.)

  • India ranked third in the world in new wind capacity last year with 1,840 MW.

  • The U.S. share of new installations in the world has hovered between 10% and 20% for the past two years, up nicely from the miserable days of the 1990s, but far below the early 1980s, when our market share was 100% in some years. (My opinion: We really had the chance to dominate this emerging industry, and systematically blew it due to the failed federal energy policies of the 1980s.)

  • The percentage of electricity consumption that Denmark generates from wind (21.4%) is more than 20 times as high as the U.S. (0.9%).

    All this and much, much more in a first-rate piece of work that is an indispensable tool for anyone wanting to learn more about this industry. For previous market reports from the American Wind Energy Association and Global Wind Energy Council see "Global Market Reports" here.
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