New US wind power installations plummet

HOUSTON – U.S. investors in wind-generated power nearly abandoned the business last year as Congress let lucrative tax credits for wind projects tumble away, according to a new report.

New installations of U.S. wind projects fell 93 percent in 2013, measured by power generation capacity. New wind power  installations had climbed to a record 13,100 megawatts the year before, Navigant Research reported. One megawatt is enough to power 500 Texas homes in normal weather.

Financiers yanked much of their backing last year after legislative deadlines passed and it was too late for the $2 billion tax credit to bolster investments in wind installations. Navigant pointed to the foundering U.S. market as the biggest driver behind a 20 percent drop in global wind power development, the first decline in eight years.

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Around the world, developers installed more than 36,000 megawatts of new wind power, with North America and South America losing almost half of their combined 35.2 percent share in the market. China, Germany and India led the world’s wind industry, adding a combined 21,000 megawatts.

Offshore wind made a notable leap last year after 13 new projects were installed to add 1,700 megawatts, about 50 percent more offshore wind power that was added the year before.

Navigant projected the wind industry would see stable growth over the next two years, but may run into turbulence after 2015 as U.S. demand is expected to fluctuate again. The Americas are expected to account for 19 percent of the world demand for wind power through 2018, according to Navigant.

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