From Green Right Now Reports
Gamesa, a major producer of wind farms globally, has shelved its plan for an offshore wind farm in Virginia because a difficult financing climate and weaker “regulatory” support in the US.
The company will instead focus on building an offshore prototype off the coast of Spain.
American wind advocates predict that the loss of the Virginia project will be just one of many stalled projects and factory closings as the wind industry scales back largely in response to Congress’ reluctance to renew tax incentives for renewable energy.
Gamesa, which had built an offshore test turbine at a Research and Development Center in Cape Charles, Virginia, reported that “prospects for the U.S. offshore market and its regulatory conditions in this segment so far do not justify the next step, the installation of a prototype in the U.S..”
Madrid-based Gamesa predicts that the US will lag behind several other countries in developing offshore wind, which is more expensive, but also more powerful than projects on land.
“The offshore wind power market is developing at a firm pace. However, demand is being tempered by economic and financial factors and the difficulties being encountered by developers in accessing credit. The authorities are firmly committed to the development of offshore wind power in major markets such as the UK, Germany, France and China. Based upon the current situation, the U.S. market appears to be set to develop later than others,” said Jorge Calvet, Chairman and CEO of Gamesa in a statement.
The Offshore Wind Technology Centre, an R&D facility opened jointly with Newport News Shipbuilding, will wind down at the end of the year.
The U.S. onshore market, however, “remains a strategic cornerstone” for Gamesa, the third largest wind company in the US market as measured by installed capacity, the company said.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has predicted a major drop in wind development, and the loss of up to 37,000 jobs in the industry, as the result of Congress’ failure to renew the Production Tax Credit for renewable energy, set to expire at the end of 2012.
The PTC provides a tax incentive based on the electricity production of a facility for wind, solar, geothermal and biomass projects. wind energy.
AWEA CEO Denise Bode has said that the industry needs to know now whether the PTC will be renewed so that projects for 2013 and beyond can be planned.
“Timing is everything,” she said. “Our situation is urgent because we’re already seeing the loss of over $15 billion a year in private investment in America, and 37,000 U.S. jobs that depend on early extension of the Production Tax Credit.”