Washington, D.C.—This August, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the first annual market report on wind technologies used in distributed applications compiled through a collaborative effort by DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, eFormative Options, the American Wind Energy Association, and the Distributed Wind Energy Association. The new report is one of the most comprehensive analyses of the U.S. distributed wind energy market ever published. Distributed wind energy systems provide electricity for everything from an individual home or farm to manufacturing facilities and small communities. They range in size from a few hundred watts to several megawatts (MW), depending on the application, and can be either installed behind the meter or connected directly to the local grid to offset significant power needs and improve local grid reliability.
According to the 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications, 68% of the wind turbines installed in the United States over the past 10 years were distributed wind systems, and that market is growing. The 10-year cumulative installed distributed wind energy capacity in the United States has grown 27% since 2011 and increased more than 24-fold since 2003. Distributed wind capacity additions grew 62% in 2012 compared to 2011, bringing the total U.S. distributed wind energy capacity to 812 MW.
Approximately 3,800 wind turbines totaling 175 MW of distributed wind capacity were installed in 2012 alone, with 138 MW of that capacity from utility-scale turbines (greater than 1 MW in size), 19 MW from mid-size turbines (101 kW to 1 MW in size), and 18.4 MW from small turbines (up through 100 kW in size). Nine of the top 10 distributed wind turbine models installed domestically in 2012 were made in the United States. Domestic sales from U.S. small wind suppliers accounted for an 86% share of the 2012 U.S. small wind market capacity, up from 80% in 2011.
Although reducing utility bills and hedging against potentially rising electricity rates remain strong market drivers, according to the report, a prosperous year for farmers and available incentives also contributed to an increase in distributed wind installations in 2012. The pending expiration of the federal Business Energy Investment Tax Credit for mid-size and utility-scale turbines and termination of the Section 1603 payments motivated many distributed wind developers and owners to install their projects and have them operational by the end of 2012.
Several distributed wind suppliers expect 2013 to be another strong year with growth stimulated by federally-funded loan guarantees and grants for rural and farm markets and a third-party leasing program introduced by industry leaders for the residential market. For a detailed overview of the 2012 Market Report on U.S. Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications, join the Wind Powering America Webinar on August 21, 2013. To download a copy of the report and an underlying data spreadsheet, visit the Wind Program's Information Resources page. For an opportunity to ask industry experts, including Mike Bergey, about the status of the wind industry and the policies and technologies that affect its growth, join the Google+ Hangout on August 8th at 3 p.m.