May 15, 2019
Volume 3 Issue 3
U.S. Wind Power Capacity Grew in 2018
The United States’ wind power capacity grew 8 percent in 2018 to more than 96,400 megawatts, and demand from non-utility buyers grew a record amount, the national trade association for the U.S. wind industry announced last month.
Although wind energy is primarily associated with power utility companies, the American Wind Energy Association noted in a news release that in 2018, non-utility buyers – including cities, universities and Fortune 500 brands – signed long-term contracts for more than 4,200 MW in wind power, a 66 percent increase on the previous record set in 2015. Cumulative non-utility wind purchases now exceed 11,300 MW. A megawatt is equivalent to one million watts.
Total U.S. wind power capacity rose from just over 9,000 MW in 2005, to 40,346 MW in 2010 and to nearly 74,000 MW by 2015, according to data compiled by association.
According to the AWEA’s report on the first quarter of this year – also issued in April – Texas leads the nation with nearly 25,000 MW of wind capacity, followed by Iowa with nearly 9,000 MW and Oklahoma with 8,072 MW. Rounding out the top 10 states in wind capacity are California (5,840 MW), Kansas (5,653 MW), Illinois (4,887 MW), Minnesota (3,845 MW), Colorado (3,706 MW), Oregon (3,213 MW) and North Dakota (3,155 MW).
The association projected that the wind industry has a record amount of new power generation set to come on line in the near future, with more than 35,000 MW of capacity either under construction or in advanced development across 31 states.
AWEA also said the country’s offshore wind sector is poised to scale up from a single 30 MW project currently installed to six offshore wind projects totaling more than 2,100 MW that project developers expect to put in operation by 2023.
Gear oils account for the majority of wind turbine lubricant demand, followed by hydraulic fluids and greases.
Gear oil is used for wind turbine gearboxes, which are eliminated in some newer direct drive turbines. Hydraulic fluid is used in the hydraulic systems that control the pitch – the angle of the blades in the wind. Grease is used in several wind turbine locations: the main rotor shaft bearing; the yaw bearing, pitch or blade bearings; pitch drive gears; and generator bearings.