Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Congress Torpedoes Wind Energy Industry

Without so much as a whimper, Congress has torpedoed the future of the wind energy industry in the United States, by failing to include extension of the $0.022/killowatt hour wind electricity income tax credit in the legislation passed by both houses February 16, whichPresident Obama is expected to sign into law later this week, extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits for millions of Americans. While tand alone legislation to extend the wind power credit is theoretically possible later in this session, a delayed passage of the measure would not likely save the wind farm projects on the drawing boards for 2013, or the manufacturing jobs producing the towers and turbines needed to build those wind farms.

Kevin Borgia, head of the Illinois Wind Energy Coalition, predicts that without the tax credit, the wind ppower market will grind to a halt. Paul Bowman, vice president of development for EON Climate and Renewables North America, says $1 billion of future projects his company has in planning are now in jeopardy because the tax credit has not been extended. Bowman says a year end measure extending the tax credit will come to late to save those plans. Turbine manufacturers and development companies are already laying off employees in anticipation of declining markets after the end of this calendar year.

Navigant Consulting predicts a loss of 37,000 American wind industry jobs within a year as a result of the legislative delays. Terry Royer, CEO of Winergy, a wind turbine gear box maker, with 90% of its sales in the US market, says the company is already planning layoffs. In Illinois alone, 15 wind energy developments aggregating 3.2 million megawatts, which have already been permitted are at risk of termination because of Congressional inaction.

blog comments powered by Disqus