North America to install 126 GW of wind, bring in $145bn by 2017

Total installed wind capacity in North America is expected to double to 126 GW by 2017, according to a report from Pike Research.

The report, “Wind Energy Outlook for North America,” said North America’s wind capacity will increase from 53 GW in 2011 to almost 126 GW by 2017. The report also said that North America lags behind Europe and Asia, but a drop in wind turbine costs will help the market.

In 2010, 5,784 MW of wind capacity was installed in North America.

"This will be another difficult year for wind power in North America, but we do see signs of recovery," says senior analyst Peter Asmus. "Larger, more efficient turbines are generating greater amounts of wind power at lower costs, and both the U.S. and Canadian governments have shown strong commitment to the wind industry during this challenging economic time."

The report forecasts that approximately $820 billion will be invested globally in onshore and offshore wind turbines in the next six years, with North America bringing in $145 billion of the share. Installation costs in the U.S. will total more than $125 billion in the six-year time span, capturing 15 percent of the global market. In Canada, installation costs are expected to be $19.3 billion between 2011 and 2017.

The U.S. produces more electricity from wind energy than any other country, enough to power 10 million homes, but that only represents 2.3 percent of total power generation in the U.S.

In 2010, Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Sinovel overtook GE Wind Energy as the second largest wind turbine supplier worldwide. Vestas still ranks as No. 1.

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