U.S. Wind Market Faces Constraints in 2010


"Transmission remains one of the greatest barriers to U.S. wind project development."

The U.S. wind energy market faces constrained growth and increased competition in 2010 after a record-breaking 2009 that saw the installation of 9,800MW of capacity, IHS Emerging Energy Research said in a study Wednesday.

But the analysts said that, given the number of favorable state and federal government policies, the industry is on track to add more than 165,000MW of capacity through 2025, giving the U.S. about 200,000MW of wind generation.

The study projected that the U.S. will add between 6,300MW and 7,100MW of wind capacity this year—a number that would be 40%–60% below 2009. The study said that 2010 "marks the first time since 2004 that the U.S. wind industry will not surpass the previous year's growth level."

Despite "unprecedented federal wind incentives, reverberations from the financial crisis continue to create a difficult near-term market landscape especially in light of continued energy policy uncertainty. However, the U.S. wind market is poised to emerge from this near-term uncertainty with a clearer path toward strong future growth."

The study forecast that the U.S. wind industry will invest $330bn between 2010 and 2025, with more than 90% spent on onshore projects. The Midwest, Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states will act as major wind export hubs to areas with large appetites for renewables, including California, the Mid-Atlantic and the South.

IHS added that, although the U.S. "is closer than ever to tapping into its enormous offshore potential with the expected completion of the Cape Wind project in 2013, offshore is expected to account for only 5% of total U.S. wind build in 2025."

"Transmission remains one of the greatest barriers to the development of U.S. wind projects," the study said, adding that "coordinated national policies will be necessary to more efficiently link the U.S.' vast wind resources to high-demand regions."

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