Nuclear giant Exelon Corp. released a study today claiming production tax credits for wind generators are distorting the electricity markets. The Exelon-sponsored report says tax production credits for wind should be allowed to expire at the end of the year because they incentivize wind generators, mainly in the Midwest and Texas, to produce electricity at a rate that harms other generators and threatens reliability.
Environmentalists today released a report highlighting the potential for offshore wind to create thousands of jobs and power millions of homes along the Atlantic Coast but warning that the nascent industry is threatened by the looming expiration of key tax breaks. The National Wildlife Federation report comes during what clean energy advocates have dubbed “wind week,” in which numerous groups are pushing for an extension of wind industry tax breaks that will disappear at the end of this year unless Congress acts. The report provides a snapshot of where things stand in the U.S. offshore wind industry, which severely lags the more robust European pursuit of offshore winds that has been growing for the last 20 years. Although no turbines have been constructed along the East Coast, several projects are expected to begin soon, including the Cape Wind facility that aims to begin construction next year. The Interior Department also has set aside wind development zones offshore from Massachusetts to Virginia, and several states along the coast have pursued policies to aid the development of offshore wind.
With the wind industry facing the expiration of a production tax credit at the end of the year, the sector’s main trade association is facing off against Exelon, the big power generation company, over whether the tax break should be renewed. Last week, the Wind Energy Association expelled Exelon as a member because the company opposed a renewal of the credit. The association says that if the tax credit expires, some 17,000 jobs will be eliminated next year and that deliveries of new turbines will spiral to zero.
When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming. As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president’s former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets. This year’s campaign on behalf of fossil fuels includes a surge in political contributions to Mitt Romney, attack ads questioning Mr. Obama’s clean-energy agenda, and television spots that are not overtly partisan but criticize administration actions like new air pollution rules and the delay of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada
With lawmakers aiming to spend most of their time before November on the campaign trail, Congress is expected to have a full plate for a post-election session in November and December. But some House conservatives say it would be inappropriate to convene as lame ducks before the 113th Congress — and, they hope, a new president — comes to town next year. The wind industry has been lobbying intensively for an extension of the production tax credit, without which it says half its jobs will be lost next year. And an array of other energy sectors, from home efficiency contractors to appliance makers to alternative fuel producers, also are counting on a continuation of tax credits prized by their respective industries.
As the clock ticks down on a key wind industry tax break, a top environmental group today released two reports aiming to detail where jobs are created within the industry and how its growth has created ripple-effect economic benefits, such as boosting incomes and tax revenues in beleaguered cities and towns. The reports commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council are meant to bolster arguments that the wind industry has been an economic boon as industry supporters continue a long-running lobbying effort urging Congress to extend the wind production tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of this year.
A heated dispute over an Obama administration initiative to modernize the country’s sprawling electric grid triggered a partisan brawl in the House Natural Resources Committee yesterday, with a top Democrat accusing his GOP colleagues of trying to implement a “socialist electricity system.”
Which state had the most extreme heat this summer? Wisconsin, according to the organization Climate Central. The group set out to rank the states, with its analysis relying on two main questions: Which state broke or tied the most high-temperature records (after accounting for the number of measurement stations in each state, and the anticipated number of records based on the age of the stations)? Which states had the largest disparities in the ratio between record high and record-low temperatures?
Like all current and proposed energy resources, wind power faces a long list of challenges: connection to inflexible grids, inconstant generation and stiffly competitive energy markets, to name just a few. One problem the sector is unlikely to face, however, is scarcity of supply. According to the most detailed model of wind’s potential to date, undertaken by researchers at Stanford University and the University of Delaware, there’s enough wind on Earth to meet world power demand seven times over.
Opposition by Exelon Corp. to a key wind industry tax break, which led to its dismissal from a wind trade association, is driven in part by concerns that subsidized wind power is making it more difficult for the utility’s nuclear fleet to keep pace in competitive markets, a company official said today.