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.
Despite having escaped this summer without rolling blackouts and the kind of heat we experienced last year, Texas is still dealing with the energy crunch issue. Luckily, our state is home to the nation’s largest wind power industry and it contains about a fifth of the country’s wind turbines. The Electric Reliability Grid of Texas (ERCOT), the Texas grid operator, announced that earlier this month wind throughout the state contributed 26 percent of the load on the grid, setting a new record…This is in addition to wind helping Texas avoid blackouts in February of last year, when a cold front proved too much for many traditional power plants.
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 an ominous sign that the world economy is dragging on the wind industry, Denmark-based Vestas Wind announced today that it will lay off more than 2,300 employees as part of a reorganization to keep the company competitive.
The lay off of employees — 1,749 in Europe, 182 in the US and 404 in China and elsewhere — will help the company streamline and reduce its fixed costs by more than 150 million Euro, according to a statement.
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).