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U.S. Added Less New Wind Power in 2021 Than the Previous Year — Here's Why

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
  • The U.S. added 20% less wind power in 2021 compared with 2020's levels thanks in part to supply chain snags.
  • Developers installed 12.9 gigawatts of new wind capacity in the U.S. last year, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
  • The firm said that 11.4 gigawatts of wind, solar and battery storage projects was delayed in 2021.

New wind installations fell in 2021 as the industry faced a series of challenges, including supply chain headwinds, logistics logjams and international trade barriers, according to new analysis from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The firm said Monday that developers added around 12.9 gigawatts of new projects in 2021, a 20% reduction from 2020's additions. That year, a record 16 gigawatts of wind capacity was added.

By way of comparison, the U.S. has a total generating capability of about 1,200 gigawatts, according to the Public Power Association.

Wind is not the only area of the market facing supply chain headwinds. In total, 11.4 gigawatts of wind, solar and battery storage projects was delayed in 2021, according to S&P.

Solar panel manufacturer First Solar gave disappointing guidance for 2022 thanks to elevated freight costs, among other things. Solar inverter maker Enphase Energy posted record revenue during the fourth quarter, but has had to raise prices thanks to elevated costs.

These challenges are by no means unique to the renewable energy industry, with supply chain problems hitting every part of the economy as the global market recovers from Covid.

Still, S&P Global Market Intelligence expects the U.S.' wind industry to rebound over the long term. The firm said the nation has a wind project pipeline of 60.7 gigawatts through 2026. Of that total, around one-third is in advanced development or under construction.

The Biden administration has committed to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes.

In February, the federal government said it raised a record $4.37 billion selling six wind leases off the coasts of New York and New Jersey. The auction represented the first of its kind under President Joe Biden.

Wyoming leads the U.S. with the most upcoming wind projects, followed by Texas, according to S&P. Texas, primarily associated with oil and gas, is also a leader in solar energy.

In 2021 Texas led all states in terms of renewable energy projects, according to a recent report from the American Clean Power Association.

Texas installed 7,352 megawatts of new wind, solar and energy installation projects in 2021, the report said.

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