The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports that installed wind capacity is up for the third quarter of this year compared with last year's third quarter, thanks mainly to the provisions from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
Since the early July announcement of rules to implement ARRA, AWEA reports that about 1,600 MW of wind was brought online and more than 1,700 MW of wind projects began construction. These projects equate to about $6.2 billion in new investment.
A driving factor in the higher numbers of wind project development, AWEA says, are provisions in the stimulus bill, such as the cash grants from the Department of the Treasury, which allow applicants to receive up to 30% of the project's cost in cash instead of using the production tax credit or investment tax credit. AWEA also says state policies and attractive wind project economics contributed to the increase.
However, looking ahead, the fourth quarter of this year is not expected to be as the strong as fourth quarter of 2008. AWEA expects to install about 5,000 MW in 2010 – well short of the 8,300 MW installed last year.
‘Wind power installations are up, and that is good news for America's economy, environment and energy security,’ says Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. ‘But manufacturing, which has the potential to employ many more Americans in good, clean energy jobs, remains uncertain. A firm, long-term national commitment to renewable energy is still needed for the U.S. to become a wind turbine manufacturing powerhouse and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.’
AWEA says the slowdown can be traced to the credit crisis that slowed turbine orders and negatively impacted the supply chain. While AWEA expects the manufacturing sector to recover, without a long-term, stable policy, there is no signal for increased investment in manufacturing bases in the U.S. and growth in manufacturing jobs. Therefore AWEA is continuing to a call for a renewable electricity standard.
SOURCE: American Wind Energy Association