The U.S. Wind Power industry appears to be entering a phase of sustained recovery after a subdued 2010. Today, in only the second month of the new year, more wind farm plants are under construction than in all of 2010 – 5.6 GW of additional capacity – equivalent to about 3000 new wind turbines.
Electricity generated by wind is cost-competitive with natural gas now, according to Elizabeth Salerno, the director of industry data and analysis for the American Wind Energy Association.
‘We expect that utilities will move to lock in more wind contracts, given the cost-competitive nature of wind in today’s market,’ Ms. Salerno stated.
Wind energy stocks took an average 37% haircut in 2010, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. But, with a recovery well underway, bargain hunting investors have shown renewed interest in the sector – and the improved performance has exceeded expectations.
Exchange traded funds trading on the NYSE, such as PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio (NYSE: PBW) and PowerShares Global Wind Energy Portfolio (NYSE: PWND) are performing well.
Even micro-cap wind power companies such as Nacel Energy (OTC Bulletin Board: NCEN) and Crownbutte Wind Power (OTC Bulletin Board: CBWP) are showing new signs of life. After dropping to historical lows late in 2010, both stocks are trading up this year and the companies recently announced they were combining some operations.
More traditional ways to participate in the growth of the wind sector include turbine suppliers like GE(NYSE: GE) and carbon fibre maker (used in turbine blades) Zoltek (Nasdaq: ZOLT).