U.S. can Expect 80 Percent Drop in Wind Market
by David Quilty
Ditlev Engel, CEO of Vestas, the world's largest wind turbine maker, said that the wind energy market in the United States is likely to fall by 80 percent next year without an extension of the Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable energy investment. The credit expires at the end of this year, and as of right now it is looking as if lawmakers in Congress are not willing to extend it.
According to Engel, the wind energy market in the U.S. is still going strong, but that could soon change. "In the United States, the market this year is very, very busy," he told a gathering of EU European affairs ministers and other senior officials at Vestas' research and development centre. "But because of the potential lapse of the regulatory framework in the U.S., this market will probably go down 80 percent next year."
The PTC is a 2.2 cent per kilowatt-hour tax credit originally implemented as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 in order to assist renewable energy producers to compete with the fossil fuel industry. The credit is provided to renewable producers for the first ten years of a facility's operation and it has been available off and on since enacted. Congress has allowed it to expire three times and has extended it four times.
Each time it expires, investment and development in wind energy has fallen between 70 and 90 percent, according to Think Progress.
While a recent national poll found that 64 percent of Americans wants Congress to extend tax credits designed to boost production of alternative energy supplies, worldwide investment in clean energy is dropping.
However, there could be good news on the horizon even while pundits say the credit probably won't be extended. Strange bedfellows they may be, both Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs say that the wind energy tax credit extension has bipartisan support and let's hope they are right. Even during an economic downturn, we need more investment in alternative renewable energies, not less, if we are going to ever clean up our act. Would be great to see both parties come together for a common good for a change.
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