2008 Wind Technologies Market Report
The U.S. wind industry experienced a banner year in 2008, again surpassing even optimistic growth projections from years past. At the same time, the last year has been one of upheaval, with the global financial crisis impacting near-term growth prospects for the wind industry, and with federal policy changes enacted to push the industry towards continued aggressive expansion. This rapid pace of development has made it difficult to keep up with trends in the marketplace. Yet, the need for timely, objective information on the industry and its progress has never been greater. This report – the third of an ongoing annual series – attempts to meet this need by providing a detailed overview of developments and trends in the U.S. wind power market, with a particular focus on 2008. As with previous editions, this report begins with an overview of key wind power installation-related trends: trends in wind capacity growth in the U.S., how that growth compares to other countries and generation sources, the amount and percentage of wind in individual states and serving specific utilities, and the quantity of proposed wind capacity in various interconnection queues in the United States. Next, the report covers an array of wind industry trends, including developments in turbine manufacturer market share, manufacturing and supply-chain investments, wind turbine and wind project size, project financing developments, and trends among wind power developers, project owners, and power purchasers. The report then turns to a discussion of wind project price, cost, and performance trends. In so doing, it reviews the price of wind power in the United States, and how those prices compare to the cost of fossil-fueled generation, as represented by wholesale power prices. It also describes trends in installed wind project costs, wind turbine transaction prices, project performance, and operations and maintenance expenses. Next, the report examines other policy and market factors impacting the domestic wind power market, including federal and state policy drivers, transmission issues, and grid integration. Finally, the report concludes with a preview of possible near- to medium-term market developments. This version of the Annual Report updates data presented in the previous editions, while highlighting key trends and important new developments from 2008. New to this edition is an executive summary of the report and an expanded final section on near- to medium-term market development. The report concentrates on larger-scale wind applications, defined here as individual turbines or projects that exceed 50 kW in size. The U.S. wind power sector is multifaceted, however, and also includes smaller, customer-sited wind turbines used to power the needs of residences, farms, and businesses. Data on these applications are not the focus of this report, though a brief discussion on Distributed Wind Power is provided on page 4.