Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS), the biggest wind-turbine maker, led gains among European peers as the U.S. Congress approved a law extending a tax credit for the industry. Shares in Aarhus, Denmark-based Vestas surged as much as 13 percent, the most in five weeks, and were up 7.8 percent at 34.35 kroner as of 10:52 a.m. in Copenhagen. Nordex SE (NDX1) rose 3.3 percent and Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA (GAM) jumped 7.2 percent. The U.S. House late yesterday passed a bill averting spending cuts and tax gains that had threatened an economic recovery. The law, already approved by the Senate, includes an extension of the Production Tax Credit, which pays wind-farm owners 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of power they produce.
“Overall, this is very, very good news for the wind industry and I think it will help us out,” said Harold Prior of Milford, executive director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. Because projects begun this year will be eligible for the tax credit, the Senate’s provisions are basically a two-year extension because the work can be completed in 2014, he added. “But the industry needs more certainty than a one- or two-year extension,” Prior said. “Pretty much 2013’s developments are lost right now because of the lead time needed to manufacture the major components. Also, the manufacturers of major components need a better surety of what the government subsidies are going to be before they invest millions in manufacturing these large components.
Congress has included the long-sought extension of wind energy tax credits in final passage of a bill to avert the “fiscal cliff” that now moves to President Obama for his expected signature. America’s 75,000 workers in wind energy are celebrating tonight over the continuation of policies expected to save up to 37,000 jobs and create far more over time, and to revive business at nearly 500 manufacturing facilities across the country. The extension of the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), and Investment Tax Credits for community and offshore projects, will allow continued growth of the energy source that installed the most new electrical generating capacity in America last year, with factories or wind farms in all 50 states.
A tax credit that provides incentives to produce wind energy, a financial lifeline for the wind power industry, will likely be extended if Congress approves a tentative deal between Senate Democrats and Republicans to avert the “fiscal cliff.” President Barack Obama said on Monday that a deal with Congress to stop a range of spending cuts and tax increases was “within sight,” although not yet finalized.
U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced yesterday that she is stepping down after four years in office, a move that is likely to spark a tough confirmation battle over her eventual successor. Jackson said in a statement that she was awaiting “new challenges,” having made “historic progress” on various issues, including air pollution, toxic chemicals and children’s health issues. She will depart after President Obama’s State of the Union speech next month. Bob Perciasepe, the deputy administrator, will serve as acting EPA administrator, assuming no one is confirmed by the time Jackson departs. He is also a possible contender to replace Jackson permanently (Greenwire, Nov. 1).
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., the power provider owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), completed 300 megawatts of wind farms in California ahead of the expiration of a tax credit at the end of this year. MidAmerican Renewables LLC completed the 168-megawatt Pinyon Pines Wind I and the 132-megawatt Pinyon Pines Wind II projects near Tehachapi, the Des Moines-based company said today in a statement. The 100 Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) 3-megawatt turbines will supply Edison International (EIX)’s Southern California Edison with electricity under long-term contracts.
DESPITE ITS promise, the American wind industry is caught in the crosswinds of American politics — and that uncertain situation set up a surreal contrast when wind enterprises gathered here to tout their technologies.
The American Wind Energy Association’s conference exhibition hall was full of European and multinational firms that are busy plunging scores of turbines into their waters. German developers talked about how the industry has transformed rusting homeland harbors into bustling ports, while British officials boasted that industry investment in offshore wind will leap from $8 billion in the last decade to $80 billion in the next eight years.
Colorado political and business leaders made a big push to develop a wind-turbine industry, which in the space of about six years created more than 5,000 jobs. Now, that is in jeopardy as the federal wind-production tax credit — equal to 2.2 cents for each kilowatt-hour that a wind farm produces — is set to expire at the end of this year.
Forget about parties, resolutions or watching the ball drop. To Iberdrola Renewables, New Year’s Eve will mean checking on last-minute details like the data connections between 169 new wind turbines in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and California and its control center in Portland, Ore. All over the country, developers are in a sprint to get new wind farms up and running before Tuesday, when the federal wind production tax credit will disappear like Cinderella’s ball gown. After that, the nation’s wind-farm building will be at a virtual standstill.
As I note in Friday’s paper, construction of new wind farms is going to grind to a halt with the end, at least temporarily, of the wind production tax credit. What’s next? The credit is worth 2.2 cents per killowatt-hour generated, beyond whatever the electricity can be sold for on the regional market. At some hours of the day, most or all of the revenue will come from the tax credit.