Our research team ran the numbers, and the wind industry’s third quarter results paint a clear picture: wind power is in high demand across all sectors of the electricity market.
Look no further than American Electric Power’s (AEP) Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma, announced during the third quarter. It will be one of the world’s largest wind farms once completed.
“There’s a rebalancing of the generation resources, not only in our company but in this country, that’s going on,” said Nick Akins, the chief executive of AEP. “This project is consistent with our strategy of investing in the energy resources of the future, and it will save our customers money while providing economic benefits to communities.”
“The goal of this project is to bring additional low-cost, clean energy to our customers and the State of Iowa,” said Doug Kopp, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility.
"Our customers count on us to provide reliable, affordable and clean energy, and this investment will do just that," Xcel President Chris Clark said.
You’ll notice words like low-cost, affordable and savings are common themes across all three of these examples. Because wind’s costs have fallen by two-thirds since 2009, it’s the cheapest source of new electricity in many parts of the country, especially in wind belt states like Oklahoma, Iowa and South Dakota. And that keeps more money in the pockets of American families and small businesses.
It also saves money for large energy users, like Fortune 500 companies Anheuser-Busch, GM, Target and Kimberly-Clark. All were among those inking wind power purchase agreements during the third quarter. For example, Anheuser-Busch bought enough wind to make 20 billion bottles of beer a year, while GM procured enough to power the Ohio and Indiana factories that build the Chevy Cruze and Silverado, and the GMC Sierra.
“Helping to grow the renewable energy market is not only good for the environment, it is a strategic business move as we strive for long-term sustainability,” said Anheuser-Busch CEO Joao Castro Neves.
“It’s a powerful demonstration of sustainability initiatives having both great environmental and business benefits,” said Lisa Morden, Kimberly-Clark’s global head of sustainability.
All of this is keeping our industry busy—almost 30,000 megawatts of new wind power is either under construction or in advanced development at the close of 2017’s third quarter. That’s akin to adding more than a Texas-sized amount of wind power, and enough to power millions of American homes. It’s also the largest the wind development pipeline has been since we started tracking this number at the beginning of last year.
That means a lot of business for American workers. The more than 500 U.S. factories building wind turbine parts have a lot of orders to fill, and construction crews across the country will have their hands full building new wind farms. And once these projects are up and running, we’ll need plenty of new wind technicians to maintain them and keep things running smoothly.
Our workers are up to the task—so let’s keep the new orders rolling in.