U.S. Wind Generation Jumps in 2011, Could Fall off a Cliff Next Year (GE, SI)


In 2011, the United States added about 6,800 megawatts of new wind power generation, 31% more than was added in 2010, but less than the total additions in 2008 and 2009. U.S. wind generation now totals nearly 47,000 megawatts.

The leading turbine suppliers in 2011 were General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and Denmark's Vestas, each with about 29% of the market. Siemens AG (NYSE: SI) claimed about 18%, and the rest was divided among a half-dozen other suppliers. A total of $14 billion was invested domestically in new wind generation during 2011.

Of the 10 largest turbine and component suppliers, eight had U.S. manufacturing facilities. Domestic sourcing of wind power equipment accounted for 67% of costs in 2011, nearly double the total from 2005 to 2006. The United States also exported $149 million in wind generation equipment in 2011, up from just $15 million in 2007.

Federal incentives, which have driven new wind installations, are set to expire at the end of 2012. The U.S. Senate has approved a renewal of $12 billion in a production tax credit for new wind generation in 2013 and an extension of the incentive tax credit for offshore and community-level development. Whether the House will follow suit remains to be seen.

As if to underscore the lack of congressional commitment to wind energy, Vestas yesterday laid off about 90 workers at its plant in Pueblo, Colo. As many as 37,000 U.S. jobs could be lost if the tax credits are not renewed, according to the White House.

The Department of Energy's press release is available here and the full report is available here.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Alternative Energy, Green Biz, Research Tagged: featured, GE, SI