Energy Plan Reaction: AWEA Calls Plan a ‘Useful First Step’

The proposed U.S. energy policy is “a useful first step” toward recognition of the value of wind energy and other renewable energy sources, says the American Wind Energy Association.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-05-18 <SolarAccess.com> “Extending the production tax credit and revisiting the R&D budget cuts are important and valuable actions, but there is still much to be done if we are to have an energy policy that is truly balanced among conventional energy sources, efficiency and renewables,” says executive director Randall Swisher. Further action is needed to develop a “serious renewable energy agenda for the nation.” AWEA is pleased that the policy calls for extension of the federal tax credit for wind and for a review of previously-proposed cuts in federal renewable energy research funding. For wind, the additional measures that are necessary include: – a 30 percent investment tax credit for wind systems smaller than 75 kW capacity; – a directive to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to integrate intermittent electricity-generating resources like wind into the electric utility transmission system; – a Renewables Portfolio Standard that would require a minimum percentage of U.S. electricity to be generated from wind; – a requirement that federal agencies purchase an increasing percentage of their energy needs from renewable energy suppliers; and – increased research funding to continue dropping the price of wind power. “The European Wind Energy Association has recently raised its target for installed wind capacity in the European Union for 2010 from 40,000 to 60,000 MW because it has become evident that the lower target will be surpassed,” adds Swisher. “Sixty thousand megawatts of wind generating capacity are equivalent to 20 to 25 new 1,000 MW nuclear power plants.” AWEA predicted in 1995 that global installed wind capacity would reach 18,500 MW by 2005 and require an investment of $18 billion, but that total will be surpassed before the end of this year. In the U.S., wind will install 1,500 MW of new capacity this year, which will treble the capacity from 1997. “Wind plants can be built much more quickly than other power plants, and they are a clean, affordable source of electricity,” concludes Swisher. “U.S.wind energy potential is vast – equal to or exceeding the oil reserves of Saudia Arabia. We need a far more aggressive plan to make use of it.”

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