2009 Wind Technologies Market Report

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The U.S. wind power industry experienced yet another record year in 2009, once again surpassing even optimistic growth projections from years past. At the same time, 2009 was a year of upheaval, with the global financial crisis impacting the wind power industry and with federal policy changes enacted to push the industry towards continued aggressive expansion. The year 2010, meanwhile, is anticipated to be one of some retrenchment, with expectations for fewer wind power capacity additions than seen in 2009. The rapid pace of development and change within the industry 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 fourth in an ongoing annual series—attempts to meet this need by providing a detailed overview of developments and trends in the United States wind power market, with a particular focus on 2009. As with previous editions, this report begins with an overview of key installation-related trends: trends in wind power capacity growth, how that growth compares to other countries and generation sources, the amount and percentage of wind energy in individual states and serving specific utilities, and the quantity of proposed wind power capacity in various interconnection queues in the United States.

Next, the report covers an array of wind power industry trends, including developments in turbine manufacturer market share, manufacturing and supply-chain investments, wind turbine and wind power 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 prices paid for wind power in the United States, and how those prices compare to short-term wholesale electricity prices. It also describes trends in installed wind power 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-term market developments. This fourth edition updates data presented in the previous editions, while highlighting key trends and important new developments from 2009.

New to this edition is a discussion of trends in the hub height and rotor diameter of wind turbines installed in the United States, new data on wind turbine and component imports into and exports from the United States, an expanded discussion of offshore wind energy development, and data on wind power curtailment. The importance of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act) to wind energy in 2009 is reflected throughout the report. The report concentrates on larger-scale wind turbines, defined here as individual turbines or projects that exceed 100 kW in size. The U.S. wind power sector is multifaceted, however, and also includes smaller, customer-sited wind turbines used to power residences, farms, and businesses. Data on these latter applications are not the focus of this report, though a brief discussion on Small Wind Turbines is provided on page 4.

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