For the second year in a row, transmission/interconnection constraints were identified as the greatest barrier to wind energy development, according to a poll conducted by NRG Systems at the American Wind Energy Association's WINDPOWER 2009 conference last month. Forty-nine percent of respondents cited transmission or interconnection issues as the single greatest barrier to wind development in the U.S.
This year, the U.S. economy clearly had an impact on poll results, with 28% of respondents identifying financing/access to capital as the second-greatest barrier to wind development. In 2008, U.S. federal policy was identified as the second-greatest barrier. In this year's poll, U.S. federal policy (13%), public attitudes toward wind energy (8%) and supply chain constraints (8%) were of much less concern.
When asked which initiative or policy would contribute most to the development of wind energy, 43% of respondents chose an upgraded national transmission system, followed by 31% who chose a national renewable electricity standard. Feed-in tariffs came in third with 10%, followed closely by cap-and-trade legislation with 9%. Only 7% thought banking and finance recapitalization would contribute most to wind energy development.
Financial issues, rather than transmission/interconnection issues, were identified as the greatest barrier to individual company growth, with 45% of respondents identifying access to capital as the greatest barrier. Transmission/interconnection issues came in second, with 25%. In last year's poll, competition for skilled labor was cited as the greatest barrier to company growth.
Despite the bleak economy, 72% of respondents still expect company sales to grow over the next two years. When asked if they expected their company to benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 70% answered positively, and 19% were unsure.
SOURCE: NRG Systems