Project developers expect more than 23 gigawatts of wind turbine generating capacity to start operating in the United States in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). This would exceed the previous record of 13.2 gigawatts added in 2012.
Only 5 gigawatts of capacity has started operating in the first eight months of the year, but most wind turbine installations historically have come online in the final months of the year. Another 18.5 gigawatts of capacity is expected to start operating in September through December.
The 5 gigawatts of capacity that has already been added so far this year is more than the capacity added in the first months of any year except for 2009. Developers expect to add 8.9 gigawatts in September through November and 9.6 gigawatts in December. December has typically been the month with the most wind turbine capacity additions. Over the past decade, 41% of the annual wind capacity additions started operating in December.
The phase-out of the full value of the U.S. production tax credit at the end of 2020 has led to more capacity additions than average this year. Previous tax credit reductions also contributed to greater wind capacity additions in 2012 and 2019. Wind projects that come online through 2023 that began construction in 2019 qualify for lower values of the production tax credit.
Texas has more wind turbine capacity than any other state with 29.1 gigawatts installed as of August. Project developers in Texas expect to add another 4 gigawatts by the end of the year. Developers plan to add 2.7 gigawatts in Oklahoma by the end of 2020, and this would increase the wind capacity in the state from 8.2 gigawatts to 10.9 gigawatts.
The share of U.S. electricity produced by wind turbines is expected to rise from 7.4% in 2019 to 8.8% in 2020. This would be more than any other renewable electricity generation source. The share is expected to rise to 10.3% in 2021. Because most wind capacity starts operating at the end of the year, the annual capacity additions tend to increase wind electricity generation in the following year.