Green Power Research

Interesting takes on the world of Green Power

What are we doing to the wind power industry?

by Tony - November 20th, 2011.
Filed under: Wind Power. Tagged as: , .

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Wind turbine farm as sunset

Wind turbine farm as sunset

I was reading an article online the other day and was stunned to find out Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems was making preparations in the event the Production Tax Credit expired at the end of the calendar year 2012.

A Production Tax Credit (PTC) provides a 2.2-cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) benefit for the first ten years of a renewable energy facility’s operation. Originally enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 the credit has been a major driver of wind power development over the past 7 years. The cash payment to the operators of the wind turbine is often the difference in making wind turbine projects viable.

For those of you familiar with the wind turbine industry whenever the PTC has expired the following year experienced a pronounced dip in the number of megawatts of power installed in comparison to the year before. This occurred in 2000, 2002, and 2004 when the credit elapsed.

The credit was renewed in 2009 for three years which, at the time, seemed to ensure the investments could be made in wind power which are necessary to result in a significant impact on our energy production in the years to come.

If wind power is supposed the cornerstone of our energy plans how can our politicians allow its expiration to become a possibility? Are the effects of letting the credit expire not clear enough? My idea is in light of the investigation of Solyndra’s loan guarantees perhaps our law makers may be beginning to question the viability of alternative energy.

I implore our elected representatives to do whatever it takes to ensure the credit not only gets reinstated but does not require speculation in regards to renewal every few years as our energy problem will extend far into the future and realistic options are at a premium.