How To Accelerate Wind Energy Development

Renewable energy is one of the fastest growing sectors of energy in the U.S. Last year wind energy was only second to natural gas in terms of providing new electric generation. Bill White with David Gardiner & Associates told me during an interview that it won’t be long before wind energy surpasses all other forms of energy for new electric energy installed.

White said that policies are very important to help create jobs, lower electricity costs and increase dependence on domestic sources of energy. Several policies to pay attention to include the federal production tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of 2012. He stressed that it is important for Congress to extend the tax credit.

“Leaving it to the last minute will create a lot of uncertainty in the market and make investors a little less comfortable,” said White. “It would really have a negative effect on the boom in the industry that’s going on despite the recession.”

Listen to my interview with Bill White here: How to Accelerate Wind Energy Development

Another key policy is the investment tax credit that was enacted in 2009 as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This gives developers the option to take a 30 percent investment tax credit for a new facility in lieu of the tax credit. To be eligible, construction must begin by the end of 2011.

One of the biggest barriers to developing wind energy, says White is the ability to move the power from where it is most cost effective to produce to where people use a lot of electricity. FERC recently issued a series of orders that takes important steps in the way companies share and plan new transmission projects.

White concluded that the wind industry has been very successful and he believes it will be more successful in the future. “If we’re really able to build the infrastructure under this new FERC order, than we’ll really see this industry take off.”

You can learn more about the wind industry at the upcoming Wind & Transmission Leadership Summit in Blue Sky, Montana September 26-28.

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