The Clean Power Quarterly Market Report, released last week by the American Clean Power Association (ACP), shows that U.S. project developers installed nearly 40 percent more wind power in the first three months of 2021 than in the first three months of 2020, the strongest year ever for clean power. This amount of development also represents nearly three times the amount of wind added to the U.S. grid in the first quarter of 2019. Utility-scale solar and energy storage also had strong first quarters, keeping pace with or exceeding historic levels.
“These numbers add up to one word: momentum. We are already exceeding the pace from the strongest previous year ever for clean power,” said Heather Zichal, ACP CEO. “This trend will only grow when more closely aligned with smart policy in Washington.”
Thirteen new wind projects, 15 utility-scale solar projects, and 2 energy storage projects became operational during the first quarter said ACP. The top five states for first quarter additions include Texas (791 MW), Oklahoma (555 MW), California (519 MW), South Dakota (462 MW), and North Dakota (299 MW).
America’s first wind project in federal waters, Dominion Energy’s 12-MW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, became operational during the first quarter. Meanwhile, federal regulators released their final assessment of the planned 800-MW Vineyard Wind project, the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the country.
The Biden-Harris administration also announced a new goal of installing 30,000 MW of offshore wind capacity in the U.S. by the end of this decade. ACP believes these developments are helping set the stage for the country’s transition to renewable energy by the end of this decade.
In total, there are now over 173,000 MW of clean power capacity operating in the U.S, more than double the U.S. capacity just five years ago. And more is on the way, with over 84,000 MW of clean power capacity under construction or in advanced development across the country, including about 35,000 MW of wind and 44,000 MW of solar. That near-term project pipeline is more than the total amount of clean power on the U.S. grid at the end of 2015.