The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Report: A Plea For Extending a Federal Tax Incentive for Wind Energy

Efforts to get Congress to extend a wind energy production tax credit before it expires at the end of 2012 have intensified, and the latest ammunition came in a form of a government report released Tuesday touting the jobs created by the wind energy industry and the growing reliance on wind energy to meet electricity demand.

The report, written by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, noted that the 32 percent of new electric power plants added in 2011 were wind farms that required $14 billion to install. Sixty-seven percent of the equipment that went into building turbines last year came from American factories.

The country added about 6.8 gigawatts of new wind energy generation capacities in 2011, up 31 percent from 2010. The country’s total wind energy generation capacity has hit 50 gigawatts, the report said. Wind energy now can meet over 10 percent of the electricity demands in six states, including Iowa, Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota.

The wind energy’s growth also has been built on the federal energy production tax credit, which first became available in 1992 and has been extended many times. Wind energy producers can get an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. The American Wind Energy Association has been lobbying hard to extend the production tax credit, which is set to end on Dec. 31 this year.

The trade group issued a press release last week listing layoffs at wind manufacturing and other service companies to underscore its assertion that more job losses will occur if the production tax credit disappears. In fact, it claims that nearly half of the 75,000 jobs that are currently available in the wind business could go away along with the tax credit. 

State mandates that utilities buy an increasing amount of renewable energy have driven the wind energy industry. California installed 921 megawatts of wind energy capacity in 2011, knocking Texas off the perch. California also is where the utilities must get 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. California’s three big utilities – Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric – have already met an earlier, 20 percent mandate in 2011.

Wind energy development isn’t a new field, and it’s managed to reduce both the cost of building wind farms and the price of wind electricity over the years to the point that they are lower than, say, solar energy. The cost of installing wind farms in 2011 reached an average of $2.1 per watt, which was $0.10 per watt less than the cost in 2010.

Although project development and construction costs have come down, the prices for wind power haven’t dropped as quickly. Average prices for electricity from a sample of 271 wind farms (20.2 GW total) reached 5.4 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared with a low point of 3.7 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2005 (80 projects with 4 GW). Price fluctuations for wind turbines and project construction costs are key reasons for the changes in wind power prices, though lower prices could show up much later after a drop in equipment and project costs.

Most of the wind farms built in 2011 involved power purchase agreements owners signed with utilities a few years before, so the wind energy prices for 2011 didn’t seem to correspond with falling turbine prices. But the power purchase agreements signed in 2011 did contain lower prices: They reached an average of 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared with 5.9 cents per kilowatt-hour for the power purchase agreements signed in 2010 and 7.2 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2009. 

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Global Renewable Energy Roundup: China, Kenya, Turkey, India Seeking More Renewables

Bloomberg News Editors China is being encouraged by three industry groups to double the nation’s solar-power goal for 2020 to make up for sh...

With Vast Amounts of Geothermal, Wind and Hydropower, Why No Solar In New Zealand?

James Ellsmoor, Contributor New Zealand has built an international brand on environmentalism and the great outdoors. So it is unsurprising that t...

GE low wind turbines make debut in France

Kelvin Ross

A new wind farm in France will be the first in the country to deploy GE’s 2.75-120 wind turbines.

Unlikely Allies in North Carolina Clean-Energy Fight

Mark Drajem, Bloomberg With North Carolina’s renewable energy mandate under assault from Republican legislators, green groups seeking to sav...

PRESS RELEASES

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

30 days to GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) has announced that it is only 30 days to go to t...

FEATURED BLOGS

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

Activity supported with Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation funding BOONE—The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachia...

Discounted Room Rates for Geothermal Event end Friday

Discounted room rates for GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo end Friday Room rates for this prestigi...

3 Reasons To Follow-Up

It’s very important to begin nurturing your relationship with a customer immediately after the project you sold...

Who are the Solar Early Adopters? - the “Tipping Point” is Looming

We all know why people go solar: investment purposes, immediate savings, environmental concerns, and grid independenc...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Ucilia Wang is a California-based freelance journalist who writes about renewable energy. She previously was the associate editor at Greentech Media and a staff writer covering the semiconductor industry at Red Herring. In addition to Renewable En...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

Distributed Wind Energy Workshop

Description: Distributed wind energy is electricity that is produced for...

2015 AREDAY Summit

The 12th Annual AREDAY Summit, August 8-13th in Snowmass Colorado. Engag...

COMPANY BLOGS

Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

Koch Professor drops his Koch title, still makes same errors plus s...

The Koch Professor’s title isn’t the only thing that’s...

Fact Check: AWEA represents American wind power

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is proud of its members for ...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS