The wind power industry wants to see the production tax credit (PTC) extended and received some hope that this might be a possibility when President Obama mentioned wind energy in his State of the Union address, but that also can be a problem for the wind energy industry if Republicans turn to opposing anything the President supports.
The President’s mention suggested that wind energy is rapidly expanding and is a strong segment of the economy and renewable energy, which also to some people suggests that wind energy investors are making good money and a PTC might not be necessary.
A recent transaction might support the opinion that wind energy is doing extremely well for investors as reported in E&E Publishing’s “Energywire.” The news was that Apex Clean Energy, a Virginia-based company, is selling an under construction wind farm in Oklahoma to First Reserve Corporation, a Connecticut private equity and infrastructure investment company. The project is the 298-megawatt Kingfisher Wind Farm.
Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, in talking to Monica Trauzzi on E&E TV, said, “I think the PTC needs to be extended. It’s proven to be a very successful, productive, effective policy that has now generated 73,000 jobs throughout the country, 500 manufacturing facilities. This is an industry that is vibrant, but we don’t want it to fall off a cliff by not having PTC extended again. It needs to be extended so that the industry can have some predictability and a reasonable, stable policy going forward.”
Kiernan noted that there was a 92 percent drop in industry activity in 2013 when the PTC was not certain to continue. He also contended that every other source of electricity in the U.S. receives some form of “tax relief,” and those reliefs don’t appear likely to completely disappear.
Figures show that as of 2014, wind energy was nearly 5 percent of the U.S. electrical generation. Kiernan said he has information that the Department of Energy will issue a report that foresees 20 percent of the U.S. electrical generation coming from wind by 2030, but he cannot see the industry reaching that goal without the PTC.
One positive about wind energy is the income provided to many farmers and rural landowners. There also continues to be opponents of wind energy for assertions of health and safety concerns, bird deaths and aesthetics.
It is obvious that companies are going to make money on erecting wind farms and generating electrical energy that feeds into energy grids around the nation. It also makes sense that wind energy expansion will be much faster with a PTC in place.