After Poor 2013, American Wind Expecting Big 2014

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The American Wind Energy Association has released its latest report, detailing the American wind energy industry’s response to the extension of the Production Tax Credit in 2013.

According to the  U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2013 Market Report, the industry started work on an “historic and unprecedented number of new wind farms”.

“These results show the Production Tax Credit continues to be an effective and efficient policy, driving billions of dollars in private investment into our economy, fostering a new U.S. manufacturing sector, and creating economic benefits for communities across America,” said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan as the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

After a dismal 2013, which saw a 92% reduction in new wind generating capacity brought online — dropping from the record 13,131 MW of new capacity in 2012 to only 1,084 MW in 2013. However, according to the AWEA, “the industry quickly rebounded, signing a record number of Power Purchase Agreements and getting projects under construction in the fourth quarter.”

“Our current growth demonstrates how powerful the tax credit is at incentivizing investment in wind energy,” Kiernan said. “Now it’s up to Congress to ensure that growth continues by extending this highly successful policy.”

The AWEA pulled five specific highlights from the report:

  • At the end of 2013 there were more U.S. wind power megawatts (MW) under construction than ever in history: Over 12,000 MW of new generating capacity was under construction, with a record-breaking 10,900 MW starting construction activity during the fourth quarter. The wind projects under construction could power the equivalent of 3.5 million American homes, or all the households in Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas.
  • A record number of long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) were signed in 2013. At least 60 PPAs for nearly 8,000 MW were signed by utilities and corporate purchasers, of which 5,200 MW have not yet started construction.
  • Some of the states poised for major growth in wind energy in coming years include Texas, Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, and Michigan.
  • There are now over 5,600 MW of turbine orders placed, with major manufacturing facilities active in places such as Colorado, Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota.
  • U.S. manufacturing production capacity has ramped up dramatically, and the largest turbine order in history of the U.S. wind industry was placed in the Fourth Quarter.

It looks as if the current growth stemming from the renewal of the Production Tax Credit will continue through 2014, but failing a long-term policy being put into legislation, similar ups and downs are likely for the industry.

“In the absence of long-term policies, the wind industry should not be left out in the cold while Congress decides the way forward on energy,” said Kiernan. “The PTC is a highly successful policy and Congress should act quickly to extend it to maintain a stable business environment, so that wind energy can continue to provide more affordable, clean, homegrown energy.”


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Joshua S Hill

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4 thoughts on “After Poor 2013, American Wind Expecting Big 2014

  • An industry that cannot survive without government handouts, not a very sustainable business model.

    • Exactly, that’s why we should cut fossil fuel subsidies so we aren’t throwing away money making our pollution problems worse. Is it fair to expect a newer technology like wind power to compete against some of the most heavily-subsidized sources of energy (that enjoy immense incumbency benefits as well) without any support of its own? Cut fossil fuel subisidies and make them pay for the negative effects of their pollution and you wouldn’t even need a production tax credit to see wind power take off!

    • Absolutely.

      The good thing about wind and solar is while they needed government assistance to get started they will soon be operating without subsidies.

      Solar drops from 30% to 10% at the end of 2016 and probably won’t be getting any subsidy by 2020. Wind is likely to be subsidy free by 2020 as well.

      The question will be whether we’ll continue to subsidize oil, coal and nuclear past 2020.

  • The stop-go us the result of a very bad policy: uncertain incentives. It would be better for wind to have no PTC at all than an on-off one. If there’s no PTC just now but a 50% chance of a PTC next year, everybody waits.

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