The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) most recent report shows that the first quarter of 2017 has been the strongest for wind energy in the past eight years.
The US installed over 900 utility-scaled wind turbines which translated to roughly 2,000MW of capacity. The industry is in the third year of the 5-year plan to phase out of the Production Tax Credit, but shows no sign of slowing down with over 500 factories in place and 100,000 workers.
According to the press release, ‘There were 1,781 MW signed in long-term contracts for wind energy, the most in a first quarter since 2013. Utilities and Fortune 500 brands frequently use these long-term contracts, called Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), to purchase wind energy. Home Depot and Intuit, maker of TurboTax, both signed up for wind power this quarter, joining a host of Fortune 500 companies like GM, Walmart, and Microsoft that are buying wind energy for its low, stable cost.’
CEO of AWEA, Tom Kiernan said, when releasing the U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2017 Market Report: “We switched on more megawatts in the first quarter than in the first three quarters of last year combined,”
“Each new modern wind turbine supports 44 years of full-time employment over its lifespan, so the turbines we installed in just these three months represent nearly 40,000 job years for American workers.”
Horace Pritchard, one of 60 landowners associated with a North Carolina wind energy project explained what it means to him and his neighbors to have the support and supplementary income of wind, “Farms have been growing corn, soybeans, and wheat for a long time here, and the wind farm revenue means a lot of families are protected from pricing swings, floods or droughts going forward. We’re just adding another locally-grown crop to our fields, with very little ground taken out of production, and the improved roads really help with access. So it’s a great fit here.”