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

February 02, 2005

AWEA Expects Record Wind Growth in 2005 after Slow 2004

The growth of wind power in the United States is expected to accelerate this year, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). AWEA currently projects more than 2,000 megawatts of new wind power capacity in 2005, as wind developers rush to complete their projects before the Production Tax Credit expires again at year end. That growth rate will easily beat the records set in 2001 and 2003, when just under 1,700 megawatts of wind power were installed. It will also be a significant improvement over 2004, when only 389 megawatts of wind power were installed. See the AWEA press release.

Wind power may grow even more rapidly in the future, thanks to a new rule proposed in late January by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The proposed FERC rules for connecting wind plants to the grid aims to remove barriers to wind-generated electricity while helping to ensure continued reliability of the power grid. To ease concerns about the effect of wind plants on the grid, FERC proposes to require wind plants to demonstrate the ability to continue operating when the grid experiences a low-voltage condition. Wind facilities would also be required to have supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) capability to ensure real-time communication with the operators of the transmission grid. See the FERC press release and the proposed rule (PDF 75 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

Photo of the Ponnequin Wind Farm.

Xcel Energy's Ponnequin Wind Farm in northern Colorado may be a sign of things to come.
Credit: Warren Gretz

While a number of projects are currently underway, utilities are increasingly seeking to add wind power to their energy supply portfolios. For instance, Idaho Power issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in mid-January for up to 200 megawatts of wind power. A notice of intent to bid must be submitted to the utility by February 10th. Alliant Energy also issued an RFP for up to 100 megawatts of wind power for its customers in Iowa and Minnesota; proposals are due on February 4th. Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company (OG&E) issued an RFP for 80 megawatts of wind power in late December; bids were in late January. And lest you think utilities fail to follow through on these RFPs, Xcel Energy announced on January 26th that it has begun negotiations with three wind power developers to add 400 megawatts of wind power in Colorado. The utility hopes to complete negotiations by March and begin buying power from the new facilities by year's end. See the press release and RFP from Idaho Power; the press release and RFP (PDF 97 KB) from Alliant Energy; the press release and RFP from OG&E; and the Xcel Energy press release.