In 2019, annual wind generation in the U.S. exceeded conventional hydroelectric generation for the first time, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly. This means wind is now the top renewable source of electricity generation in the country.
Annual wind generation totaled 300 million MWh in 2019, exceeding conventional hydroelectric generation by 26 million MWh. Wind capacity additions tend to come online during the fourth quarter of the year, most likely because of tax benefits. Wind capacity additions totaled 10 GW in 2019 (3.8 GW installed in the fourth quarter), making 2019 the second-largest year for wind capacity additions in the U.S., second only to 2012.
Total installed wind capacity surpassed total installed conventional hydroelectric capacity in 2016. And as of the end of 2019, the U.S. had 103 GW of wind capacity, three-fourths of which (77%) was installed in the past decade. The U.S. has 80 GW of hydroelectric capacity, most of which has been operating for several decades. However, only 2 GW of hydroelectric capacity has been added in the past decade, and some of those additions involved converting previously nonpowered dams.