Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wind Energy Update

According to a recent release from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the U.S. wind industry in August for the first time surpassed 50,000 megawatts (MW) of total installed electrical generation capacity – enough to power 13 million homes. Third-quarter figures compiled by the AWEA show the U.S. has added 4,728 MW of wind power so far this year, with another 8,430 MW currently under construction.The third quarter saw 1,833 MW of new installations, putting total U.S. wind capacity at 51,628 MW on Oct. 1. Over 40,000 wind turbines across the U.S. can now produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of all the homes in Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada combined, according to the AWEA report. Read more

Meanwhile, third quarter earnings have been announced by Florida-based NextEra Energy, which owns wind farms in Barnes and Burleigh Counties in North Dakota through its subsidiary NextEra Energy Resources. NextEra Energy, whose other subsidiary is Florida Power & Light, reported net income of $415m for the third quarter 2012 versus $407m for the same period in 2011.

Regarding its wind energy business, NextEra stated it added 80MW of wind capacity in the US and Canada during the quarter, which brought its 2012 additions to 250MW through September. The company said it expects to add more than 1.2GW capacity in the fourth quarter, bringing 2012 installations to 1.5GW, which NextEra says is the most ever in a calendar year by a US wind company.

Commenting on the production tax credit (PTC) which is set to expire at the end of the year, the company says it is optimistic an extension will be approved for at least a year. A NextEra spokesman said mergers and acquisitions, which the company currently is considering, will likely increase if the PTC is not extended. He added, however, that the company recently signed on to a 100MW farm project with a 20-year signed power purchase agreement that is not contingent on PTC renewal, which he said supports the company's view that there will continue to be wind power development in the U.S. even without tax credits. Read more

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