Congress’ on-and-off romance with wind energy is back off. Tax credits for wind expired – again – with the close of 2013. This isn’t the first time the industry has broken up with its Congress. Every year or every other year for the past decade lawmakers have acted like a reluctant fiancee, extending a hand but always holding back on a full-fledged support for the wind industry.
Congress ended a year of wind industry angst this week by renewing for another year the production tax credit program that has helped sustain the growth of wind energy in the U.S..
A bipartisan coalition of governors has written to Congress to plead for the extension of the Production Tax Credit that has helped fuel the development of wind energy in the U.S..
The PTC, set to expire at the end of December, provides wind developers with a tax break that makes the business more profitable. Proponents say it’s needed to level the playing field for new energy, which must compete against subsidized fossil fuel industries like coal and natural gas.
U.S. wind energy workers are losing their jobs as factories pare back in apparent response to the potential loss of a tax credit that has bolstered wind development.
Losses include layoffs and planned layoffs at wind manufacturing facilities in Tulsa, Okla., West Fargo, N.D., and in Little Rock, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) 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.
Gamesa had built an offshore turbine at a Research and Development Center in Cape Charles, Virginia, but 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 wind is whipping down the plains, challenging the view that renewable energy can play only a small role on the electricity grid, according to figures released today by the American Wind Energy Association.
AWEA’s annual report shows that five states received more than 10 percent of their electricity from wind in 2011:
In recent days, both the wind power and solar power advocates have been protesting the potential expiration of three key tax incentives that have helped drive the expansion of renewable energy in the US, even amid the economic stall out. With Congress and President Obama both seeking ways to trim the federal budget deficit, and the tug of oil and coal money ever-present on Capital Hill, these incentives for clean energy are being considered for the axe.
Wind energy leaders are warning Washington that thousands of U.S. jobs in the sector would be lost if Congress fails to renew a key tax credit tied to wind production.
The Production Tax Credit (PTC) also supports solar power and other renewable energy projects by providing tax breaks to the qualifying businesses that build wind farms (and solar and geothermal facilities).
It’s clear that America wants wind power. At the WINDPOWER 2010 conference in Dallas this week, industry advocates, governors from three states, energy company executives and even a former president all said it: Bring it on.