Monday, October 31, 2016
Wind Generated Power 2016
Since the last time I looked at the share of total U.S. electricity generation by wind mills it has risen significantly. Wind facilities produced 190,927 gigawatt/hours (GWh) of electricity in 2015, or 4.7% of net U.S. electric power generation. The level of wind's generation has doubled since 2010, when the share was 2.3%. Based on monthly data through July, wind has provided 5.6% of U.S. generation in 2016.
The increase of wind power in the United States has been driven by a combination of technology and policy changes. Technological changes include improved wind technology and increased access to transmission capacity. Financial incentives and policies such as the Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and state-level renewable portfolio standards (RPS) have pushed utilities and investment groups to build more wind capacity. The PTC that grants a federal tax credit on wind generation, while the ITC allows federal tax credits on wind farm investments. State RPS, meanwhile, require that a minimum percentage of electricity generation comes from renewable energy.
The bulk electric system of the Lower 48 states consists of three independently electric interconnections: Eastern, Western, and the ERCOT part of Texas. Because of minimal transfers of electricity between the Interconnections, each interconnection essentially meets its demand with its own generating resources and utilizes the available generating power sources. Despite incentives, most of the wind generation takes place in the center of the nation where prevailing winds are strongest.
In 2015, 11 states generated at least 10% of their total electricity from wind. In 2010, only three states had at least a 10% wind share. Iowa had the largest wind generation share, at 31.3%, and South Dakota (25.5%) and Kansas (23.9%) had wind generation shares higher than 20%. Two additional states, Texas and New Mexico, are on track to surpass a 10% wind generation share in 2016, based on data through July. Wind generation in Texas, the highest wind electricity-producing state, made up 24% of the national total wind generation and 9.9% of Texas's total electricity generation in 2015.