The United States is shaping up to record a record year for wind turbine installations, according to data compiled by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Project developers expect more than 23 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbine generating capacity to come online in the United States in 2020, far more than the previous record of 13.2 GW added in 2012.
Only 5.0 GW of capacity have come into operation in the first eight months of this year, according to the EIA’s Preliminary Monthly Inventory of Electric Generators, but as is typical with wind turbine installations, most annual capacity additions come in in operation in the last months of the year.
Another 18.5 GW plan will come into operation from September to December, according to project schedules reported to the EIA by power plant owners and developers.
The 5.0 GW of capacity added in the first eight months of 2020 is already more than the capacity added in the first months of any year except 2009.
The developers expect to add another 18.5 GW in the last four months of 2020: 8.9 GW from September to November and 9.6 GW in December.
December is typically the month with the highest number of wind turbine capacity additions.
In the previous 10 years, 41% of the annual wind capacity additions came online in December.
The impending elimination of the full value of the U.S. Production Tax Credit (PTC) by the end of 2020 is leading to more capacity additions than average this year, just as previous tax credit reductions led to significant additions of wind capacity in 2012 and 2019.
Turbine projects that are online through 2023 and that began construction in 2019 qualify for lower PTC values.