To understand the impact of wind power’s key federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), Congress need look no further than the small town of Newton, Iowa. Manufacturing roots run deep in Newton, which was once home to Maytag appliances. A few years ago, the Maytag plant closed, leaving some 3,000 people out of work and sending economic shock waves through the town of 16,000.
Some Democratic and Republican lawmakers still aren’t giving up on extending the wind production tax credit, which expires at the end of the year. Supporters had hoped an extension could be included in the payroll tax cut deal that cleared Congress on Friday, probably the last must-pass bill of the year. Now they’re looking for other opportunities.
The Texas wind boom has prompted a big increase in the number of wind turbine parts passing through the Port of Houston. In 2011, 55,800 tons of wind equipment sailed into Houston from foreign ports, nearly twice the tonnage from the previous year.
When Maryland lawmakers return this week to a debate about offshore wind power, talk likely will focus on the minutiae of how much a subsidy for the fledgling industry will cost ratepayers. “I have been working on clean-energy issues for the last 10 years, and I have never seen an issue that mobilizes and captures the imagination of the public as much,” Mike Tidwell, president of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, recently told a gathering of green-energy financiers meeting in the District. “In offshore wind, you’ve got a solution that strikes the average person as sufficient to the scale of the problem. You’ve got something visionary, something large, something that looks and feels like the future.”
Wind energy has long been seen as a tremendous but untapped opportunity to help rural Nebraska communities, ranchers and farmers, who lease out their land for the giant wind turbines. As of January, neighboring Iowa had 4,322 megawatts of wind energy capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association — ranking second nationally, behind only Texas.
A majority of voters in four Midwestern states are willing to pay $6 a month on their electricity bills to help promote clean energy and energy efficiency, according to a telephone poll of 1,600 voters in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Not long ago, it wasn’t unusual for a hundred or more wind turbines to sprout into the Wyoming sky each year. But while the state’s wind generates a bigger chunk of Wyoming electricity than ever before, the number of built turbines has lagged ever slower behind the number of permits issued by state regulators.
The wind energy industry finds itself in damage-control mode after House and Senate negotiators reached a deal on the payroll tax extension — but failed to include an important tax credit for wind energy. Industry leaders say the production tax credit (PTC) for wind is critical to preserve thousands of jobs and ensure the sector’s growth. Its omission raises the possibility that the robust growth enjoyed by wind power over the past few years might soon shudder to a halt.
Gov. Deval Patrick, who has been trying to strong-arm Nstar into purchasing electricity from his pet energy project Cape Wind, announced today that the utility will buy 27.5 percent of the proposed offshore wind project’s electricity as part of a deal allowing the mega-merger of Nstar and Northeast Utilities.
The wind industry is predicting massive layoffs and stalled or abandoned projects after a deal to renew a tax credit for wind production failed Thursday in Washington. The move is expected to have major ramifications in states such as Illinois, where 13,892 megawatts of wind projects-enough to power 3.3 million homes per year-wait to be connected to the electric grid.