Like the wind itself, the wind energy industry has blown hot and cold in Oregon. Some blame the lack of effort in Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit for alternative energy, set to expire in about four months. The standstill affects businesses like Met One Instruments in Grants Pass, which makes weather sensors and monitoring equipment.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS), the world’s biggest wind-turbine maker, is likely to give details this week of its plan to cut as many as 1,600 jobs mainly in Colorado amid a standoff in Congress over a tax break for the industry. Chief Executive Officer Ditlev Engel said in January that U.S. jobs would be scrapped “for sure” unless Congress extends the production tax credit, or PTC, which expires at the end of 2012. He may provide more details Wednesday when the Aarhus, Denmark-based company reports earnings for the first half of 2012. Gamesa Corp. (GAM) Tecnologica SA and other manufacturers in the industry also have announced layoffs.
Federal regulators yesterday certified that an offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound would not endanger air traffic in the area, reiterating its determination for the fourth time after local activists won a procedural challenge to an earlier version.
Exergy Development Group has ended its efforts to build the 116-megawatt package of wind farms this year. The renewable-energy developer gave up contract rights to build the wind generation plants in Twin Falls, Lincoln and Bingham counties, according to a filing this week with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. The filing came as stories in bicycle-racing publications reported that the company, which sponsors several bike races and the Exergy racing team, is behind in paying its bills.
Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, has begun laying off American workers, as it had threatened to do, because Congress has not yet extended the renewable production tax credit. Vestas cut about 100 jobs out of 450 at its Pueblo, Colo., tower factory, the Danish company said in a statement.
According to the2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, Oregon is one the country’s largest and fastest growing wind markets. The report finds that in 2011, Oregon installed 409 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity, bringing its total to over 2,500 MW. With this capacity, Oregon can generate 10.5 percent of its electricity from wind energy, ranking sixth among all U.S. states.
The U.S. wind sector grew substantially during 2011, a trend that is expected to continue until the end of this year, according to a new report by the Department of Energy. Lingering uncertainty over the fate of federal incentives for renewable energy, however — primarily the production tax credit and investment tax credit for renewable energy, both set to expire in December — could see that growth decline severely in only a matter of months, the document notes.
As the debate over wind energy subsidies heats up the campaign trail, the Department of Energy today released a report showing that stable policy support has boosted wind installations and manufacturing in recent years and arguing that expiration of a key tax credit could spell doom for the industry next year.
According to the 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, Iowa is one the country’s largest and fastest growing wind markets, ranking second among all U.S. states in percentage of in-state electricity generation from wind power. The report finds that in 2011, Iowa installed 647 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity, bringing its total to over 4,300 MW, or enough to power about 1 million homes. With this installed capacity, Iowa can generate about 20 percent of its electricity from wind energy.
All the huff and puff on the campaign trail in Iowa aside, it’s likely that the wind energy tax credit will pass this fall, Iowans who follow the issue say. It’s a topic that Iowa voters typically don’t bring up. But President Barack Obama loves to talk about it because it gives him an opening to bash GOP rival Mitt Romney for being opposed to an incentive that all of Iowa’s top politicians consider important.