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.
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).
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.