2018 America Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Conference: Phillip Riley Managing Director's Insights

Phillip Riley’s Managing Director, Scott Robinson, shares his experience and insights on the America Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Conference in Chicago held earlier this month.
I was fortunate to attend the America Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Wind Conference in Chicago recently, along with 8-10K other people and was buoyed by the general positivity for the US (and Americas) market over the next 2-4 years.
The US market by numbers (end 2017)

  • US Wind market grew 9% from 2016
  • There was 7,017 MW of new Wind capacity, totally over 88K MW of Wind in the US across 41 states, Guam and Puerto Rico
  • Wind supplies 6.3% of the countries electricity and is on track for 10% by 2020 (Solar 1.9%, conventional Hydro 7.4%)
  • 14 states generate over 10% of their electricity via Wind and 4 states generate over 30%
  • A pipeline of 28K MW Wind Development projects
  • There were 14 Offshore Wind projects in various stages of development, representing over 12.5K MW
  • There has been over $145 billion in private investments in the past decade and $11 billion in 2017 with $267M in landowner payments in 2017
  • 5,500 MW of PPAs signed in 2017 and already over 2,300 MW announced in 2018
  • 19 Corporations signed 23 PPAs totally more than 2K MW in 2017, over 1K MW signed in 2018
  • 3 owners announced over 2K MW of repowered operating projects the top 5 Developers were Enel Green Power NA, Tradewind Energy, Avangrid Renewables, Infinity Wind Power and E.ON Climate and Renewables.

General themes of the Conference
Q: What happens if/when the 2 Tax incentives end, specifically the PTC which is due to expire in 2020?
A: Potential new federal policy/tax/PTC extension, state policies take over
Q: What will stimulate new projects and investment?
A. Utilities replace old thermal generation with new Renewables generation, new/old Utilities want to own Renewable generation. Corporate PPAs continue to grow, increase in repowering operating sites, costs (product, EPC) continue to fall
Q: Where is the next boom (globally)
A. Mexico, Argentina, South America, Japan & Taiwan (Offshore Wind). Offshore Wind is being invested in by governments and developers.
Energy Storage is still in its infancy as the economics of arbitrage and frequency control are edging more projects closer to reality, along with emerging technologies such as flow batteries
Other observations
The market is huge in the US/Americas and there are firms with fleets of specialist trucks for transporting turbines/blades/towers, cranes for erection etc. The O&M market is quite specialized with firms exclusively focusing on a select parts of a turbine, such as foundation O&M (including testing the torque on the bolts), towers, blades, several different solutions to reach/repair a blade/rotor/gearbox, several rope access providers, as well as internal lift and pulley solutions available, and THEY KNOW HOW TO THROW A GOOD PARTY (GE even hired out Soldier Field, and NFL Stadium, for their customers and partners!).
FYI: Phillip Riley established a US office in 2017 so if you have any questions about the US Market please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Cheers!
-Scott
PS: Some data courtesy of AWEA and a report can be purchased via their website.

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