As the U.S.' demand for renewable energy has been growing, a record amount of wind power was purchased in the country last year, according to a new report released Wednesday by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
Non-utility customers in the U.S., like major companies AT&T, Walmart, ExxonMobil and Shell, purchased a record 4,203 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity in 2018 through long-term contracts, AWEA’s U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2018 Market Report said.
In addition, major utilities signed contracts for 4,304 MW of wind power in 2018, according to the report.
When purchases of non-utility customers and major utilities are combined, the total amount of wind power capacity in 2018 was 8,507 MW -- the highest level on record.
Contracts for wind capacity from non-utility customers in 2018 also posted an increase of 66 percent, compared to the previous year, the report said.
Some of the major factors behind the increase was high consumer demand, stable policies in the wind sector and low renewable prices, it added.
Wind power provides more energy to corporate brands in the U.S. than any other renewable source, according to the report.
"A rapidly growing number of big brands and utilities clearly understand that for American consumers, it’s no longer enough for energy to be affordable and reliable, it must also be clean," Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, said in a statement.
"Businesses are responding to their customers by seeking out the lowest-cost clean energy they can find to power their products and operations reliably. Wind power’s record-setting 2018 proves you really can have it all," he added.
There are now 96,488 MW of cumulative installed wind capacity in the U.S., with more than 56,800 wind turbines operating across 41 states, according to the report.
By Ovunc Kutlu