Ohio ranked in Top 10 for distributed wind energy

Source: By Chad Felton, The News-Herald • Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017

• Utility-scale wind installations stand at more than 82 gigawatts, enough to meet about 6.2 percent of U.S. end-use electricity demand in an average year.

• In total, 40 states and Puerto Rico operated utility-scale wind projects in 2016; utility-scale wind came online in North Carolina in early 2017.

• In 2016, Ohio installed 102 megawatts of utility-scale wind capacity.

• The report also finds that wind energy continues to be sold at attractive prices through power purchase agreements, making this renewable energy source cost-competitive with traditional power sources such as natural gas in many parts of the U.S., especially when wind energy is sold at a fixed price over 20 years.

• The report also shows wind energy’s impact on growing the American workforce, currently supporting 101,738 jobs related to project development, siting, turbine manufacturing, transportation and other sectors — an increase of 32 percent from 2015.

— Source: United States Department of Energy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

As sustained wind energy continues to be a factor in Lake and Cuyahoga counties with turbines in Euclid and Wickliffe, the entire state of Ohio is reflecting wind-based power’s rapid and sustained growth.

The U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., recently released three wind market reports demonstrating continued growth in wind energy nationwide. According to a department news release, America’s wind industry added more than 8,200 megawatts of capacity last year, representing 27 percent of all energy capacity additions in 2016.

Last year, wind supplied about 6 percent of U.S. electricity, with 14 states receiving more than 10 percent of their electricity from wind. The reports cover the following market sectors — land-based utility scale, offshore and distributed wind.

In 2016, Ohio installed 102 megawatts of utility-scale wind capacity — capacity from wind farms used for bulk power. Ohio ranks 6th nationwide in total wind capacity deployed in distributed applications, with 42.1 megawatts installed between 2003 and 2016, the release stated.

In January, One Energy LLC secured $80 million in financing from Prudential Capital Group, signaling institutional capital acceptance of One Energy’s approach to providing distributed wind to industrial and commercial customers in Ohio. As Ohio’s net-metering policy has no system capacity limit, One Energy’s customers can have larger wind projects that displace more of their retail rate electricity with guaranteed power purchase agreement rates.

Overall, wind power capacity in the United States experienced strong growth in 2016, according to the release. Recent and projected near-term growth is supported by the industry’s primary federal incentive and production tax credit, as well as a myriad of state-level policies. Wind additions also have been driven by improvements in the cost and performance of wind power technologies, yielding low power sales prices for utility, corporate, and other purchasers.

The prospects for growth beyond the current production tax credit cycle remain uncertain, given declining federal tax support, expectations for low natural gas prices and modest electricity demand growth, the release stated.

“The wind industry continues to install significant amounts of new capacity, and supplied about 6 percent of total U.S. electricity in 2016,” said Daniel Simmons, acting assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “As our reports explain, a combination of federal subsidies, state mandates and technological advancements continue to help drive new wind capacity additions.”