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'Clean Energy' Politics Take Energy Out of Wind Industry Sails

Green Lifestyle  (tags: business, conservation, eco-friendly, energy, environment, globalwarming, greenproducts, healthy, society, sustainable )

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As the US wind energy industry hit a new milestone recently by reaching 50GW of power production, the industry trade group warns that 'the best of times' could become the 'worst of times' if a looming deadline to extend federal subsidies for clean-->

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Kit B (276)
Monday August 13, 2012, 4:21 pm

As the US wind energy industry hit a new milestone recently by reaching 50GW of power production, the industry trade group warns that 'the best of times' could become the 'worst of times' if a looming deadline to extend federal subsidies for clean energy investment is not met.

The American Wind Energy Association, the lobbying arm of the wind industry, announced recently that the wind sector's 50GW (gigawatts) of capacity is enough to power nearly 13 million American homes, or as many as in Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama, and Connecticut combined.

In addition, the number of new operational wind projects across the US is enough to supplant "44 coal-fired power stations or 11 nuclear power plants", will result in emission reductions that would equate to taking 14 million cars off the road, and -- because wind energy demands almost no water use -- conserves 30 billion gallons of water a year compared to thermal electric power generation.

"The milestone," as reported by The Guardian, "was achieved thanks to a surge in new wind farms coming online as developers rush to complete projects before the possible lapsing of the US government's crucial production tax credit (PTC) at the end of this year. According to AWEA, over 2.8GW of capacity has now been added during the year to date, while total US wind energy capacity has doubled since 2008."

The potential good news for the industry, however, is balanced by the politics of clean energy subsidies in the middle of election year politics.

“These truly are the best of times and could be the worst of times for American wind power,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the AWEA. “This month we shattered the 50-gigawatt 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, incoming orders are grinding to a halt."

The 'Production Tax Credit' was created under the George H.W. Bush administration and has been extended by each president since. President Obama included the most recent extension of the provision when he signed the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and, as the Washington Post notes specifically "extended the wind credit through 2012 to allow wind energy producers to collect 10 years’ worth of credits up front as a form of stimulus."

But Republican candidate Mitt Romney has vowed to end the subsidy once and the GOP House and Senate leadership have vowed to do the same.

Romney’s campaign has said it would allow the credit to end in order to “create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits,” the Des Moines Register reported.

“At a moment when home-grown energy, renewable energy, is creating new jobs in Colorado and Iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind energy producers,” Obama told supporters in Pueblo, Colo.

The wind industry, however, says that layoffs are already occurring due to the politic uncertainty.

“Layoffs have begun up and down our American manufacturing supply chain, which the industry has so proudly has built up in support of the U.S. economy and made-in-the USA manufacturing. And when incoming orders stop, so do factories. Congress must act now to give wind energy a stable business environment to keep producing all this homegrown power, and save 37,000 American jobs by the first quarter of next year,” Bode said.

By Common Dreams staff


Giana Peranio-paz (398)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 12:40 am
This homegrown power is very important and must be supported.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 12:58 am
That's interesting - thanks

Jason Topps (9)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 1:03 am
Green energy is good for us all.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 1:55 am
Interesting post. Thank you.

Gloria picchetti (304)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 4:47 am

David C (133)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 9:08 am
@ JOHN G, again you are being MR. PESSIMIST....nothing is good......wind isn't perfect but (a) who should get the subsidies????? the oil industry, the fracking industry, etc......I'd much rather see the wind energy get it.....(b) someday it won't just be bats/birds getting killed if we don't change our energy system....there are already thousands of people suffering and dying from the effects of pollution due to co-existing asthma/copd/heart conditions/etc and sooner or later the whole earth will be boiling and all life will suffer......

its sad about the birds and bats, but we need to invest now to get it going to save all life and then, unfortunately, we can get better windmills, etc to limit losses.....

PS -- where are your solutions????? You never have any just complaints! People/companies are working on safer alternative as you can see in the 3 links below.

here are some other care2 links on the issue:

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 1:25 pm
Of course, we still have billions in subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 2:48 pm

There is a new wind generator that is being replaced on those already standing and will be used for future wind farms. It does not kill birds. We have to begin to remove all subsidies and investment in Oil, Gas and Coal, and put substantial investments into alternative forms of energy. Every year new improvements are made and the energy generated at higher performance levels. Not just in wind, but in solar, underwater generators, and even new forms of safe use of nuclear energy. I would not have thought the words safe and nuclear could be side by side. But there truly inventive and creative ideas out there.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 5:25 pm
Thanks for sharing.

Robert O (12)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 6:13 pm
Renewable energy is really the only and best way to go. Coal, oil, fossil fuels, etc.=DEATH.
Thanks Kit.

Joy M (169)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 6:15 pm
Thank you.. noted

Lois Jordan (63)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 6:33 pm
Way back when Carter was Pres. my parents bought a little stock in the solar industry....which vanished as soon as Reagan took office and removed the solar panels from the White House. We have to keep pressing our elected officials to "go green" in every way, shape and form. This is the industry of the future.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 8:21 pm

Just think if we had the sense to follow Carter's wisdom, we would have converted the country to renewable and sustainable energy by now. Instead, we are hand maidens to big Oil, Gas, Coal, mega-international corporations and banks that all make the decisions for our future. All based on which lobby is forking over the biggest bucks.

Danuta W (1248)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 1:46 am

Patricia H. (440)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 3:37 am

Anna M (18)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 5:11 am
Cree Prophecy:
When all the trees have been cut down,
When all the animals have been hunted,
When all the waters are polluted,
When all the air is unsafe to breathe,
Only then will you discover
You cannot eat money.

Vallee R (280)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 6:06 pm
But the oil industry will win out in the end - we need GOOD people behind all these things - not pessimistic - realistic.

Yumana Yunes (197)
Friday August 17, 2012, 11:04 am
WOW! Great!
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