Wind Industry Thriving, But Continued Success Depends on Congress
The American Wind Energy Association has announced the industry's third quarter results. The group says the success of the federal Production Tax Credit and wind energy's increased affordability are helping drive turbine installations to record levels in the nation. In August - for the first time - the U.S. wind industry surpassed 50-thousand megawatts of installed electrical generation capacity. That's enough to power 13-million homes. So far this year - America has added 4,728 megawatts of wind power - up 40-percent from the same point in 2011. Another 8,430 megawatts are under construction. AWEA says there are a number of factors driving this growth - including greatly expanded U.S. manufacturing, technological advances and the Production Tax Credit. AWEA CEO Denise Bode says this is what a successful policy looks like when it's working. But will wind continue to be a bright spot in the U.S. economy? Bode says that depends on Congress. The Production Tax Credit is set to expire on December 31st.
According to AWEA - the tax credit incentivizes more than 15-billion dollars a year in private investment in U.S. wind farms. There is a proposal to extend the tax credit for projects that start construction next year. It won bipartisan support from the Senate Finance Committee in August. The measure is part of an overall tax extenders package that Congress is expected to work on during the lame duck session following the November 6th election. Without an extension - Bode says 37-thousand industry jobs will be lost by the first quarter of 2013.
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