This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 03, 2004

U.S. Wind Industry Predicts Record Growth in 2005

The growth in U.S. wind energy capacity next year is expected to break all previous records, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). A record 1,696 megawatts of new wind power capacity was installed in 2001, but AWEA says that some industry participants are predicting more than 2,500 megawatts of new wind power in 2005. The surge in new wind power projects is due to the recent extension of the production tax credit, which is allowing many previously stalled projects to move ahead. But with the tax credit now expiring at the end of 2005, developers will rush to put their projects in place before that deadline. See the AWEA press release.

The latest example of this "wind rush" comes from Xcel Energy, which announced on October 22nd that it will buy power from two new large wind plants to be developed in Texas and New Mexico. The two projects include a 160-megawatt wind facility near Wildorado, Texas, about 30 miles west of Amarillo, and a 120-megawatt facility near Elida, New Mexico, about 60 miles northeast of Roswell. The facilities will be developed by Cielo Wind Power and Padoma Wind Power LLC and should be operating before the end of next year. The company also announced in early October that it is attempting to expedite a process to procure up to 500 megawatts of renewable energy—predominantly wind power—in Colorado. See the Xcel Energy press releases from October 1st and October 22nd.

Some utilities are also pursuing smaller wind power projects. Northern Power Systems, Inc. announced in mid-October that it will ship seven of its 100-kilowatt cold-weather wind turbines to the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, based in Anchorage. The turbines will be shipped next summer and installed in three Alaska villages, two of which are on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. See the Northern Power press release.