The wind power industry in this country has grown fast in recent years, but that could come to a screeching halt. The industry depends on a federal subsidy to keep it competitive with other forms of electricity. It’s a tax credit wind farms get for the power they produce. That credit expires at the end of the year, and it’s not clear whether Congress will renew it.
Windpower Magazine and other sources are reporting that extension of the 2-cent per megawatt hour production tax credit for wind energy projects has been excluded from the compromise Payroll Tax bill in congress.
An extension of US energy-related tax credits, including the production tax credit for wind power, will not be included in a congressional deal to extend a payroll tax cut that could be released as soon as Wednesday evening, a Republican lawmaker involved in negotiations said. The PTC and other energy tax credit extensions “never were going to be in it,” said House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, Republican-Michigan, in a interview.
Among other changes, the Obama administration is seeking to eliminate $4 billion in subsidies to fossil fuels, aid that Dr. Chu calls unnecessary; it is also proposing to drop research on onshore wind because it is “an established technology,’’ the energy secretary said. Offshore wind will still get research help.
With the clock winding down, House and Senate negotiators still were working Tuesday at drafting legislation to extend the 2 percent cut in federal payroll taxes for the rest of the year. What wasn’t known was whether that legislation also would include extending the federal Production Tax Credit that companies such as Vestas-American Wind Technology want to help recruit new customers for its wind tower turbines.
As plans for wind farms rising out of the ocean along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts inch closer to fruition, a new study from Carnegie Mellon University suggests that hurricanes could destroy a significant number of turbines in some of these areas, even coming close to wiping them out.
Although turbines are designed to both harness and withstand the forces of wind, they can be severely damaged by too much of it. In the United States, Europe and Asia, turbines have caught fire, blades have shredded and towers have crumpled when hit by stormy gales.
The request maintains Obama’s previous priorities of investing heavily in clean and renewable energy research and development while slimming down budgets for traditional energy research programs.
The new budget line for ITEC comes three days after the U.S. International Trade Commission made a preliminary ruling that illegally subsidized Chinese and Vietnamese wind tower exports and illegal Chinese dumping practices have harmed the United States’ domestic wind tower industry. The unanimous ruling opens the door for the Department of Commerce to move forward with a case that could eventually impose tariffs on Chinese and Vietnamese wind towers.
The great Texas wind energy machine is grinding to a halt as project developers await word on federal tax credit extensions. Waning state government support and ultra-low natural gas prices caused a sharp slowdown in activity last year. The industry is struggling to bounce back to pre-2011 annual growth levels, but experts say that although projects are still getting built, companies are putting most plans on hold as Congress debates whether to extend the production tax credits that have fueled the wind industry.
The world’s largest offshore wind farm opened off the Cumbrian coast of Britain yesterday, signaling investor confidence even at a moment when many of the country’s parliamentarians are railing against subsidies for the sector