The 2022 edition of the Land-Based Wind Market Report provides an overview of developments and trends in the U.S. wind power market for the 2021 calendar year.
Domestic wind-related jobs grew to a record number in 2021, with more than 120,000 Americans now working in the wind industry. Driving the job growth is the 13,413 megawatts (MW) of new utility-scale wind capacity in 2021, largely attributed to a significant improvement in the cost and performance of wind power technologies, along with supportive federal and state-level policies. The additions bring the United States’ cumulative capacity total to 135,886 MW, enough energy to power 39 million American homes per year.
Wind turbines continue to grow in size and power, with average nameplate capacity of newly installed wind turbines at 3 MW—up 9% from 2020. In 2011, no turbines employed blades that were 115 meters in diameter or larger, but in 2021, 89% of newly installed turbines featured such rotors. And proposed projects indicate that total turbine height will continue to rise.
Lower wind turbine pricing has pushed down installed project costs over the last decade. Wind turbine prices averaged $800–$950 per kilowatt (kW) in 2021. The average installed cost of wind projects in 2021 was $1,500/kW, down more than 40% since the peak in 2010. Lower installation costs lead to energy produced at a lower cost, with the average levelized cost of energy for utility-scale wind power down to $32/MW-hours in 2021.