The United States is on course to see record-breaking 23 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbine capacity additions this year, smashing the previous record from 2012 by nearly 10 GW, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday.

This year wind capacity additions are set to be higher than in previous years because of the impending phase-out of the full value of the U.S. production tax credit (PTC) at the end of 2020.

Between January and August, a total of 5 GW of wind turbine generation capacity was installed in the United States, according to data EIA has collected from power plant owners and developers. Another 18.5 GW are coming online between September and December, as it is typical for wind installations to come online at the end of each year, the EIA noted. December is typically the month with the most wind turbine capacity additions, and this year 9.6 GW are planned to come online in the last month of the year. In the previous 10 years, a total of 41 percent of the annual wind capacity additions came online in December.

In the third quarter of 2020, the U.S. wind industry installed nearly 2 GW of new wind power capacity, setting a record for third-quarter additions and bringing total American capacity to nearly 112 GW, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said in its latest report at the end of October. U.S. wind installations are on pace for a record year, with capacity additions through the third quarter up by 72 percent compared to the first nine months of 2019.  

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Wind power has increased its share in the U.S. energy mix and in the U.S. renewables sources mix in recent years as renewable energy consumption continues to grow.

Renewable energy consumption in the United States continued to rise for the fourth year in a row in 2019. Of the renewable energy used, wind energy—almost exclusively used to produce electricity—accounted for 24 percent of U.S. renewable energy consumption. Last year, wind beat hydropower to become the most used renewable electricity generation source.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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