Washington, D.C. — America’s wind power workforce installed 908 utility-scale turbines in the first quarter of 2017, totaling 2,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity. This is the wind industry’s strongest start in eight years, according to a new report released today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
“We switched on more megawatts in the first quarter than in the first three quarters of last year combined,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, in releasing the U.S. Wind Industry First Quarter 2017 Market Report. “Each new modern wind turbine supports 44 years of full-time employment over its lifespan, so the turbines we installed in just these three months represent nearly 40,000 job years for American workers.”
The early burst of activity reflects how 500 factories in America’s wind power supply chain and over 100,000 wind workers are putting stable, multi-year federal policy to work. The industry is now in year 3 of a 5-year phase-down of the Production Tax Credit, and Navigant Consulting recently forecast a strong 2017 for wind power, similar to 2015 and 2016.
New wind turbine installations in the first quarter spanned the U.S. from Rhode Island and North Carolina to Oregon and Hawaii. Great Plains states Texas (724 MW), and Kansas (481 MW), led the pack.
Texas continues as the overall national leader for wind power capacity, with 21,000 MW installed, enough to power more than 5 million average homes. North Carolina became the 41st state to harness wind power, bringing online the first wind farm to be built in the Southeast in 12 years.