Wind generation overtook hydroelectric generation in 2019, marking the first time that this has happened, according to Electric Power Monthly from the US Energy Information Administration.
Wind power has now overtaken hydropower as the main renewable source of power generation in the country.
Annual wind generation totaled 300 million megawatt hours (MWh) last year, exceeding hydroelectric generation by 26 million MWh. Wind generation has grown steadily over the past 10 years, in part thanks to the production tax credit, according to the EIA.
“The past decade has seen a steady increase in wind capacity across the country, and we closed the decade with a monumental achievement for the industry reaching over 100 GW,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of American Wind Energy Association. “With all this capacity in the ground, wind projects were able to provide 7.2% of the country’s electricity in 2019. This means that US wind farms can power more than 32 million homes from nearly 60,000 wind turbines rotating in 41 states. The industry takes pride in providing consumers with clean, affordable energy that keeps utility costs stable and avoids carbon emissions contributing to climate change.
About 10 gigawatts of wind capacity was added in 2019 with 3.8 GW installed in the fourth quarter. This made 2019 the second most important year for wind capacity additions. As of December 31, 2019, the United States had 103 GW of wind capacity, 77% of which has been installed in the past decade.
For comparison, the United States has 80 GW of hydropower capacity, most of which has been operating for several decades, with only 2 GW of capacity added in the last decade.
These trends will continue as the wind industry has invested $ 62 billion in new projects over the next few years, ”Kiernan said. This puts the wind industry on track to represent 20% of the country’s electricity mix in 2030.
“As a result, wind power is well positioned to remain the country’s largest producer of renewable energy for the foreseeable future,” Kiernan added.