Wind Power Capacity Rises by 40% in First Quarter of 2018

In Dust Control, EK35®, EnviroKleen®, Wind & Solar by Frank Elswick

The wind industry is kicking into high gear after a massive first quarter that saw development rise 40% year-over-year

Following the release of a stellar report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), it looks to be sunny skies (or is it windy days?) ahead for the industry. 2018’s first quarter saw a 40% year-over-year increase in generating capacity under construction or in advanced development. And as developers continue adding to a pipeline already holding multiple gigawatts worth of new capacity, industry players are finally feeling some wind at their backs.

Wind Energy is Powering Up

According to the new report from the AWEA, the pipeline of wind farms under construction or in advanced development exceeds 33GW — a 40% increase over this time last year — and the highest total since the AWEA began recording the metric.

With an installed base of 89GW — enough to power more than 27 million American homes — wind energy is without a doubt already big business. 14 states currently generate more than 10 percent of their electricity from wind. In Texas, wind energy’s share of the state’s overall electricity generation exceeds 15 percent. And with major developers like GE Renewable Energy continuing to invest in the resource across the U.S. — and particularly in the Midwest — that business is set to get even bigger.

Q1 also brought with it record job numbers (105,500) and power purchase agreements (3.5 GW). Given the announcement that developers put shovels in the ground for an additional 1.4 GW of projects, the medium-term outlook for the industry is equally bright. “Strong demand for wind power is fueling an economic engine…in farm and factory towns across the nation,” gushed AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan.

A Unique Set of Challenges for a Unique Energy Source

The AWEA estimates that over the last ten years, the U.S. wind industry has invested more than $145 billion in new projects. With such a deep investment in the power source, it’s crucial for wind farms to be well-prepared to combat worksite challenges. That’s where Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. comes in.

One of the greatest challenges any wind farm faces is fugitive dust, which is typically generated by earthwork during construction, as well as by vehicular traffic on unpaved roads that run to and from windmills. The strong gusts that are unsurprisingly common at wind farms can also scatter particles into the air and generate heavy plumes of dust.

The results can be a serious problem for wind farm operators, as these fugitive dust particles can damage equipment and negatively impact worker safety. But Midwest stands at the forefront of the dust suppression industry, and our experts can draw on a deep wealth of experience working alongside wind farms across the country to develop custom dust control strategies and turn-key application programs.

Our patented EnviroKleen® and EK35® dust control products were some of the first Synthetic Organic Dust Control® products on the market — and they lead the industry in proven effectiveness to this day.

Environmentally friendly and EPA tested, these products are uniquely designed to meet the needs of wind developers and operators. With a binder system that captures dust particles and keeps them locked into the surface, EnviroKleen and EK35 prevent fugitive dust from escaping while creating pavement-like strength.

Regardless of your worksite’s specific needs, Midwest can work with you to devise an application plan that’s specifically tailored to your worksite. As the wind industry continues to power up, Midwest stands ready to help wind developers tackle site maintenance, improve safety, and make dust control a breeze.

Frank is the sales unit manager of Midwest's road construction and natural paving markets.