Members of the wind industry have converged in Las Vegas this week to attend the American Wind Energy Association's WINDPOWER 2014 Conference and Exhibition. New products and deals are sure to be announced, and speakers will discuss a variety of topics concerning the wind sector. This year, NAW has conducted a quick, informal survey of several wind developers in order to determine the three biggest issues they would like to see addressed during the conference. Their responses are as follows:
Julia Bovey, First Wind
1. Extension of the production tax credit (PTC).
2. Long-term predictable federal policy so that U.S.-based companies can build a business plan.
3. Well-funded efforts to attack and undermine wind on many fronts outside of Congress, including state policy, transmission, market regulation and wildlife.
Kevin Sheen, EverPower
1. Long-term energy policy (most will say PTC, but I think we need to stop thinking only about the PTC and come up with a long-term policy).Â
2. Next generation of turbines and turbine improvements – to see how much they will reduce costs and how much they will cost.
3. Bats and avian issues – we need better siting policies.
Michelle Arenson, Alliant Energy
1. Emerging environmental permitting requirements, and predictions about how far folks think that the states (regions) will push issues, particularly as they relate to waterways and avian issues.
2. Whether any significant turbine technology advances are predicted in the next five years – or are we in a ‘refinement’ stage?
3. Predictions about turbine costs and levelized cost of energy in the next three to five years.
Roby Roberts, EDP Renewables North America
1. Federal – PTC, EPA 111 d, and long-term climate change strategy.
2. Siting and environmental issues – eagles, bats, and grouse federal and state strategy.
3. State policy and regulatory issues – expanding markets and defending existing markets.
These issues are the three most important variables in expansion and growth of our industry and the future of our nation's energy policy.
Milton Howard, Duke Energy Renewables
The on-and-off light switch approach regarding tax credits for the wind energy. It hurts the overall industry employment, technology development and the much-needed growth of a zero-emission renewable generation business.
We need the establishment of a U.S. tax credit strategy that depletes over a defined term with the introduction of master limited partnerships and REITS to the renewable energy industry. This would introduce low-cost capital and increase technology improvements necessary to replace the PTC.
Matt Gilhousen, TradeWind Energy
1) IRS guidance – for "work of significant nature" based projects, those that used physical work on-site or off-site via a transformer purchase.
2) What the industry's collective message should be.
3) Top challenges for wind in the next decade.
Bruce Peacock, Duke Energy
1) PTC extension.
2) PTC extension.
3) PTC extension.