Over the past five years, new wind power project installations grew at an average rate of 35% per year, creating new opportunities throughout the wind energy supply chain. Over these years, domestic content in wind turbines more than doubled to approximately 50 percent in 2010. While the industry currently lacks the long-term policy support needed to guarantee a stable market, the fundamentals of the industry are strong, and the market will continue to offer new opportunities as current and new manufacturers develop domestic supply chains. Wind turbine manufacturers are driven by the market to increase domestic content beyond 50 percent, offering opportunities to suppliers in many market segments.
State of the Market - 15% Growth in 2010
The wind industry installed 5,116 megawatts in 2010 and the US now has installed 40,181 megawatts (MW) of total capacity. Wind represented 26 % of all new capacity installed in 2010, and for the past four years combined, wind represented over 35% of all new generating capacity installed. Electricity from wind power capacity in the U.S. will supply the equivalent of over 10 million American homes and nearly 10 nuclear power plants.
In 2010, nearly 2,900 new turbine turbines were installed bringing the total U.S. installation to over 35,600 wind turbines. The average size of turbines installed in 2010 was 1.77-MW, up slightly from 1.75-MW in 2009. A typical turbine is roughly 90% steel and can weigh anywhere from 200 to 400 tons. Most importantly for supply chain companies is that there are roughly 8,000 component parts in a modern utility-scale turbine. Even during a challenging economy, opportunities to participate in the wind supply chain exist.
About 75,000 people are employed in the wind industry today, and hold jobs in areas as varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more.