Green Power Research

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Wind Power in the U.S. – still quietly making an impact

by Tony - January 1st, 2016.
Filed under: Wind Power. Tagged as: , , , , .

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President Obama passed the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind power which will extend the credit for the

Image of Off Shore Wind Turbines

Image of Off Shore Wind Turbines

next 5 years. The Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a federal incentive which provides financial support for the development of renewable energy facilities.

The importance of the Production Tax credit

Proponent’s feared failure to extend the credits would lead to significant job losses and roll back the progress achieved in the wind power industry. Historically large dips in growth occurred when the credit was not renewed. The PTC for wind and other renewable energy technologies expired at the end of 2013 and was retroactively extended the projects were under construction by the end of 2014.

What happened to Wind Power?

I had the opportunity to attend AWEA’s annual wind power conference in Chicago in 2010 and at the time, the sky seemed was the limit in regards to the impact wind power could make on our renewable energy portfolio.

Recently, other technologies such solar power have been grabbing headlines in the news which was emphasized when I was asked, “What happened to Wind Power?” since updates were not in the news anymore.

The reality is, while not in the news, the adoption of wind power is making huge strides. Here is where things stand since I left Chicago in 2010. Wind power provided 28% of all new installed U.S. power capacity during the past year.

The United States installed a total of 4.378 GW of wind power between January and November of 2015.  Wind power installations experienced a 46.7% rise during this 11-month period which brings the United States total installed wind capacity to 70.24 GW.

Where Wind Power Stands

The U.S. generated 4.4% of its electricity from wind energy in 2014 and currently stands at 6% of its electricity being produced from wind. As a comparison hydro-electric and nuclear powered sources both provide 9% of our energy requirements.  In the states of Iowa and South Dakota, wind now generates more than 25% of the states’ electricity requirements. Wind energy provides more than 20% of the total electricity generated in Kansas, and more than 15% in 9 states.

The Future is still Bright

The future for wind power is as bright today as its outlook was in 2010 even if the latest successes not are regularly covered in the news.  Honestly, as long as we move forward with adopting renewable energy sources that is fine with me.

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