New US wind installations in Q2 total 357 MW: AWEA

Houston (Platts)--27 Jul 2017 538 pm EDT/2138 GMT

Developers installed 357 MW of new wind generation capacity in the US during the second quarter, bringing the first half 2017 installed total to 2,357 MW, according to data released Thursday by the American Wind Energy Association.

The Q2 2017 installations followed Q1 2017 installations of 2,000 MW. Many of the projects that came online in Q1 2017 had been held over from 2016 after already gaining eligibility to receive the federal production tax credit, or PTC.

AWEA said the Q2 2017 installations bring the nation's total installed wind capacity to 84,405 MW, with 19,151 MW of new wind installed over the past 10 quarters.

More growth is on the way. AWEA pointed to 74 projects in 21 states that are currently under construction that have combined nameplate capacity of 14,004 MW.

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The association said that power purchase agreements representing 1,697 MW were signed during the second quarter, "contributing to a total of 3,443 MW of PPAs announced in 2017."

AWEA noted that six corporate purchasers -- Goldman Sachs, Apple, General Mills, Partners Health Care, Akami Technologies and T-Mobile -- signed PPAs for the first time during the second quarter.

In Q2, Kansas was the state that installed the most new wind capacity -- 178 MW. Kansas, now with a total of 5,110 MW of installed wind, has become just the fifth state to top 5,000 MW of wind. The other four are California, with 5,561 MW; Oklahoma, with 6,645 MW; Iowa, with 6,974 MW; and Texas, with 21,044 MW.

According to AWEA's second-quarter 2017 market report, Texas has 26 projects with 5,437 MW of combined capacity currently under construction. It noted that Texas has a 39% share of total construction activity.

One of the largest projects under construction in Texas is Invenergy's 300-MW Santa Rita facility being built in the West Texas counties of Reagan and Irion, which will supply power under a PPA with the City of Denton, which is just north of Dallas.

There are eight projects under construction in Oklahoma with combined capacity of 1,609 MW, with Enel Green Power North America building the two largest: the 299.256-MW Red Dirt facility and the 297.8-MW Thunder Ranch wind farm.

"Given construction activity, Oklahoma is on pace to overtake Iowa to become the second-ranked state in installed capacity by the end of 2017," AWEA said.

There are currently two projects under construction in Iowa with combined capacity of 338 MW -- the 170-MW Beaver Creek and 168-MW Prairie projects.

These two facilities are part of Des Moines, Iowa-based utility MidAmerican Energy's Wind XI project that is in "advanced development." The Wind XI project will develop 1,662 MW of wind to go along with the Beaver Creek and Prairies facilities, bringing the project's total capacity eventually to 2,000 MW.

Amy Farrell, AWEA's senior vice president of government and public affairs, said Thursday that there is "tremendous wind energy activity underway by many of the biggest players in the energy sector."

She pointed not only to MidAmerican's Wind XI project, but also to the Power Company of Wyoming's 3,000-MW Chokecherry Sierra Madre project that AWEA lists as "under construction."

"And although it comes after the period covered by this report, just yesterday we heard about another 2,000 MW underway by Invenergy, AEP and Public Service Oklahoma," Farrell said.

--Jeffrey Ryser,

--Edited by Annie Siebert,

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