Washington, DC and Richland, WA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 7, 2013 – Distributed wind energy has grown more than five-fold in the United States over the past decade, accounting for more than two-thirds of all wind turbines installed in that period, according to a new study from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
At the end of 2012 the 10-year cumulative installed capacity of distributed wind was more than 812 MW from more than 69,000 units.
Further in 2012 despite a drop in the number of new turbines, the combined installed capacity of new distributed wind was 175 MW, as more large turbines than previously are being used in these projects.
The report, which was prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy, is the first to assess the distributed wind market in the U.S. Compared to traditional, centralized power plants, distributed wind energy installations directly supply power to the local grid near homes, farms, businesses and communities, with turbines ranging in size from a few hundred watts to multi-megawatts.
Other findings of the report are that distributed wind installations have been documented in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands over the past 10 years. Over that period the fastest growing states have been Vermont, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Nevada.
In 2012 the largest distributed wind capacity additions were in Iowa, Massachusetts, California and Wisconsin, with the majority of growth from utility-scale installations.
Looking ahead the report says an unveiling of distributed wind third party leasing by several industry leaders working together as United Wind is anticipated to boost the residential market in 2013, and industry leaders are pursuing financing models for mid-size wind with local and regional banks similar to those available for large solar projects.
However, while several distributed wind suppliers expect 2013 sales to be strong, others recognize serious challenges and continued competition with growth prospects dependent on the state of the global economy.
A second new report from the DOE reveals that in 2012, wind energy became the number one source of new U.S. electricity generation capacity for the first time – representing 43 percent of all new electric additions and accounting for $25 billion in investment.
Last year, over 13 GW of new wind power capacity were added to the U.S. grid – nearly double the wind capacity deployed in 2011 – bringing the total wind power capacity over 60 GW at the end of 2012. This also represents a more than 22-fold increase since 2000.