Tuesday, August 19, 2014

DOE reports encouraging signs for U.S. wind energy

New Jersey might be dragging its heels on wind energy but other states are not.

According to the 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report, released yesterday by The Energy Department and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, after modest growth in 2013, total installed wind power capacity in the United States now stands at 61 gigawatts, which meets nearly 4.5 percent of electricity demand in an average year.

The report found that wind energy prices – particularly in the Interior region of the United States–are at an all-time low, with utilities selecting wind as a cost-saving option.

"With utility-scale turbines installed in more than 39 states and territories, the success of the U.S. wind industry has had a ripple effect on the American economy, spurring more than $500 million in exports and supporting jobs related to development, siting, manufacturing, transportation and other industries," the report states.
State renewable portfolio standards policies, along with federal policy drivers such as the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and accelerated tax depreciation, are expected to help drive growth in the domestic wind power market for the next two years. 

Although the PTC expired last year (after fossil fuel interests in Congress defeated its renewal), projects that began construction by the end of 2013 were eligible for the tax credit; many of these projects will be commissioned over the next couple years.

The American Wind Energy Association says that more than 14,000 megawatts of wind power capacity were under construction in the second quarter of 2014.

Students involved. National competition winner was a local university

The prospects of a growing wind energy industry in the U.S. is encouraging college students like the ones interviewed in the following video who competed in a small, mobile, wind-turbine design competition. The winner was from our readership area. No spoiler here, you'll have to watch for yourself.

What are your thoughts about wind energy? Let us know in the comment area below.

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