Energy Department shows continued growth in wind industry

Maine ranked 8th in growth of wind-power capacity in 2016, federal reports say

Most projects are planned for the northeast Atlantic, but schemes are also in the pipeline in the southeast Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes, DoE said in one of three reports focussed on wind energy in the US.

The wind industry now supports 101,738 U.S.jobs, a 32 percent increase over 2015. The fastest growing job category in the U.S.is now "wind energy technician". Furthermore, the Wind Turbine Composite Materials market report explains development trend, analysis of upstream raw materials, downstream demand, and current market dynamics is also carried out. USA manufacturers continued to dominate domestic sales of small wind turbines (up through 100 kilowatts), and half of U.S. small wind turbine manufacturers also export their products to other countries.

In total, wind generation in the United States nearly doubled from about 120 million MWh in 2011 to more than 226 million MWh previous year.


The reports are being released during a period of uncertainty about continued support for renewable energy under the Trump administration, but also when New England states - notably MA - are seeking large amounts of wind power to meet renewable power goals. While many factors affect these auction prices, the recent trend in price declines indicates a reduction in offshore wind costs.

That includes 12 projects that have won competitive lease auctions from the Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), including the Skipjack Wind Farm, South Fork Wind Farm, and Vineyard Wind. For wind projects recently installed in the USA, domestically manufactured content is highest for nacelle assembly ( 90%), towers (65 to 80%), and blades and hubs (50 to 70%), but is much lower ( 20%) for most components internal to the turbine. The average offshore turbine size increased from 3.4 MW in 2014 to 4.7 MW in 2016, and NREL expects the average turbine size to reach 7 MW for projects installed in 2020.

NREL's full report provides a wealth of additional details on the offshore wind market and technology trends.

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