In August 2016 an updated “2015 Wind Technologies Market Report”, devoted to the development of the US wind industry, was published by the US Department of Energy (United States Department of Energy, DOE – the US government's executive department responsible for energy and nuclear safety of the state).
The new document has collected a vast amount of information about American wind power industry from 1998/99 to 2015. The report cited statistics and noted the main achievements of the sector.
• Wind power has become the largest source for generating electricity among the facilities commissioned in 2015 (41% of the total installed capacity in 2015, and at the end of 2014 this figure was 24%). Wind farms now occupy 5% of the total energy balance of the country, and in 12 states this figure exceeds 10%.
In 2015, the US wind energy investments reached $14.5 billion and 8.6 GW of new capacities were installed.
• Constant growth in the size of wind turbines (from 1998/99 to 2015) is reflected in the corresponding increase in the efficiency of wind energy projects: the average turbine capacity increased by 180% (to 2.0 MW in 2015), the average height of turbines has increased by 47% (to 82 meters), and the average diameter of the rotor increased by 113% (to 102 meters). Increasing the diameter of the rotor with the optimization of turbines for specific wind conditions (with a nominal capacity even at low wind intensity) increased capacity factors of wind energy projects. For example, the average capacity factor of the projects in 2014-2015 reached 41% (which is a very good result compared with an average of 31% of the projects in 2004-2011 and 26% in 1998-2003).
• A significant decrease in prices for wind turbines has significantly reduced the cost of wind energy projects: prices have fallen by 20-40% from their peaks in 2008. Projects implemented in 2015 had an average price of about $1,690 per 1 kW, which is $640 below the peak prices recorded in 2009 and 2010.
• The cost of electricity generated from the wind is becoming the most competitive: there was registered a decline from nearly 7 cents per 1 kWh in 2009 to about 2 cents in 2015! Thus, the overall increase in efficiency with the significant reduction of costs in wind power enable this segment to form an aggressive pricing policy.
• The increase in demand for wind power has affected the placement of the entire production chain of this segment in the United States, which in turn attracted immense labour force: the employment in the US wind power industry at the end of 2015 was 88,000 people.
This and other interesting information can be found in the full report available on the official website of the US Department of Energy: