Growth of wind power in U.S. slowed in 2015 due to decreased wind speeds

Wind turbines in a field

EIA: Wind power generation increased, but not as much as previous years

Electricity generation from wind power sources grew in 2015 in the U.S., but the growth wasn’t as sharp as it has been in recent years, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a recent report.

According to the EIA, wind U.S. wind power generation increased 5.1 percent year-over-year in 2015, but that represents the smallest yearly rise since at least 1999. The slower growth in wind power generation last year is being attributed to weather patterns in the western region of the U.S.

In 2015, the West — overall as a region — experienced lowered wind speeds than in previous years, which slowed wind generation, particularly during the first half of 2015. The same weather patterns had the opposite effect in central parts of the U.S., which experienced strong growth in electricity generation from win in 2015. But the gains in the central part of the country were not enough to overcome the losses in the western part of the country.

Still, wind generation increased yearly

Despite the slowed growth when compare to other recent yearly gains, it’s important to note that wind power generation did rise overall in 2015.

Last year, wind energy produced 191 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, which represents approximately 4.7 percent of net U.S. electric power generation. This is a 7 percent increase from 4.4 percent in 2014. In the renewable sources sector, wind trailed only hydropower as a source of electricity in the U.S. last year. Additionally, 11 U.S. states generated more than 10 percent of their overall electricity from wind last year.

In the U.S., both wind generation capacity and the share of overall U.S. electricity sourced by wind have increased each year since 1999. About 12.9 percent more wind capacity was added in the U.S. in 2015, so now all the turbines need is a little cooperation from the weather.

Source → EIA