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.
This type of clean, no-emissions power is growing with gusto in many Spanish-speaking locations. It’s taking hold in Mexico and in Brazil, where General Electric is helping advance special turbines that capture the lighter, steady breezes characteristic of that country.
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.
Wind energy will grow fastest in Asia and other parts of the developing world over the next few years, but appears headed for a drop in activity in North America starting in 2013, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
The council released a five-year outlook report this week that predicts it is too late for the US to avoid a decline in wind energy production caused by Congress’ reluctance to renew the production tax credit that has fueled growth in the sector in recent years.
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:
Governors representing a majority of the U.S. population have asked Congress to extend tax credits for renewable energy to help keep wind power moving forward in America, and to retain green jobs in the wind sector
Clean energy advocates and labor leaders are calling on the U.S. to step up its commitment to wind energy and wind-related manufacturing — or risk losing thousands of jobs to China, Europe and India.
American wind urgently needs strong supports, such as long-term investment tax credits and a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), to show investors and domestic and global companies that it believes in the sector, the leaders said at a Monday news conference. A RES would signal that the U.S. wants to incubate developing firms and build everything it needs — from wind towers and blades to the highly evolved nacelles that keep the turbines turning.
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.
Driving around Houston, or idling in traffic on one of the city’s big expanses of highway, it’s hard to think of the nation’s oil capital as a green city. Like other sprawling Sunbelt meccas built on the assumption that roads were forever, the city deals with intense traffic-related pollution. It’s known in the parlance of the EPA as a “non-attainment” metro area for its inability to meet healthy air quality targets. It can mount a hazy skyline to rival L.A.’s and it’s got the added burden of benzene and other toxics wafting in from nearby oil refineries. And still, the petrol city gets that it is a new greener day in America.