US wind capacity has blown through the milestone of 50 GW but uncertain times are ahead, warns the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
The target was exceeded thanks to recent developments like Pattern Energy’s 152 MW Spring Valley wind farm in Nevada, Enel Green Power North America’s 149 MW Rocky Ridge wind farm in Oklahoma, and enXco’s 140 MW Pacific Wind project in Kern County, California.
Wind energy now provides enough power for nearly 13 million homes – equivalent to the whole of Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama, and Connecticut combined – and there are utility-scale wind farms in 39 states.
After a slow start, wind capacity in the US reached 10 GW in 2006, more than doubled to 25 GW by 2008 and has doubled again in four years.
There is a further 10 GW of wind capacity under construction led by Texas, Kansas, California, Oklahoma and Iowa.
But CEO of AWEA, Denise Bode, warns that these could be the best and worst of times for the US wind industry.
“This month we shattered the 50 GW mark, and we’re on pace for one of our best years ever in terms of megawatts installed. But because of the uncertainty surrounding the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), incoming orders are grinding to a halt,” she said.
With layoffs starting to be reported across the US turbine industry, as well as at international giants like Vestas, Gamesa and Iberdrola Renewables, Bode called on Congress to extend the PTC.
“I’m deeply distressed that our wind industry colleagues are facing furloughs and layoffs due to lack of stable tax policy,” commented Bode. “Congress must act now to give wind energy a stable business environment to keep building this new industry and save 37,000 American jobs by the first quarter of next year.”
For further information:
Obama fast-tracks seven US clean energy projects (13-Aug)
Plans for large-scale wind farms in US and Argentina get go ahead (10-Jul)
Wind farms in Hawaii and Mexico start turning (10-Jul)
Global renewable power generation to grow 40%, says IEA (9-Jul)
Article source: http://www.energyefficiencynews.com/i/5323/