The Southwest Power Pool set a wind penetration record on February 12, 2017, becoming the first regional transmission organization to serve more than 50% of its load at a given time with wind energy. A Southwest Power Pool official stated that although even 10 years ago a 25% percent wind penetration level was thought to be challenging, experience gained since then means that a 50% or greater wind penetration is realistic.
North Carolina's slogan "First in Flight" refers to the historic aeronautic experiments along the state's breezy coast more than a century ago. Now, North Carolina can claim another windy first: North Carolina's first large-scale wind farm is generating electricity. The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy summarized the project and its benefits to the region. In related news, National Public Radio reported on the reasons behind why the Southeast is just now beginning to harvest its wind resources.
According to the American Wind Energy Association's latest market report, wind is now the largest source of renewable generation capacity in the United States with a total installed capacity of 82,183 megawatts. The U.S. wind industry installed 6,478 megawatts during the fourth quarter of 2016, the second strongest quarter on record. Read The New York Times article celebrating this achievement for the wind industry.
The Board of Trustees of the Long Island Power Authority recently voted to approve a power purchase agreement for the nation's largest offshore wind farm. The 90-megawatt South Fork Wind Farm 30 miles southeast of Montauk will also be New York's first offshore wind farm. The project will provide enough electricity to power 50,000 Long Island homes and will help meet increasing electricity demand in the region. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the state's commitment to develop up to 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 to help grow the state's economy as part of New York's Reforming the Energy Vision. Project developer Deepwater Wind also recently completed the first offshore wind farm in the United States.
Manufacturing Business Technology magazine reports that although "industry and renewables may still feel a bit like strange bedfellows," an increasing number of U.S. companies (such as IKEA, Walmart, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google) are signing power purchase agreements to procure renewable energy, in part because of favorable economics. According to Mars' Global Sustainability Director Kevin Rabinovitch, his company signed a 201-megawatt wind power purchase agreement in 2014 because "Wind in the United States, and particularly in Texas, has tremendous economics. With cost parity to the fossil fuel alternative it makes sense, not just environmentally."
These news items are notable additions to the WINDExchange website. The WINDExchange website reports recent national and state wind market changes by cataloging wind activities such as wind resource maps, small wind consumer's guides, local wind workshops, news articles, and publications in the areas of policy, public power, small wind, Native Americans, agricultural sector, economic development, public lands, and schools.