Wind Energy Could Soon Be Major Supplier of U.S. Electricity

Attendees to the annual WINDPOWER 2008 Conference and Exhibition agree that the government mindset must change in order to make the wind power investment more attractive. Pat Hernandez reports.

The Department of Energy’s wind report “20% Wind Energy by 2030” looks at America’s wind resource as a major contributor to the country’s energy needs now and in the future. Last year the market for wind grew forty-five percent in the US. Even more significant, according to the American Wind Energy Association, wind provided thirty-five percent of the new electric generating capacity in this country.

Andy Karsner with the DOE says the government is doing what it can to make investments even more attractive:

“The production tax credit and these chronic, erratic implementations were not ultimately good for the wind industry. The wind industry, the renewables industry, the energy industry as a whole, needs to look at simplification of tax incentives, and consolidation in such a way that we have tax incentives that are technology neutral, that the federal government does not select its winners, the parties don’t select the winners, that are technology neutral, that are long lasting and durable and predictable for our investment environment and that could be carbon weighted in addition to taking into account security externalities that our nation faces.”

The viability in the power of the wind, is evident by the the huge attendance to the annual WINDPOWER 2008 Confernece and Exhibition at the Brown Convention Center.

Hunter Armstead is with Babcock & Brown, a company that has invested over a billion dollars in the transmission and service of wind energy:

“The growth is so dramatic that there’s going to be bumps in the road. But if we’re going to otherwise get to where we all think we’re going to have to be, it’s going to take some creative solutions and partnerships with consistent public policy and industry actively participating to make sure that where there is a problem that we’ve addressed it.”

Secretary Karsner says the DOE has allocated no less than ten billion dollars in loan guarantees for renewable energy sources that avoid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for which the wind industry is eligible:

“We encourage their participation both for manufacturing, commercializing new technologies that augment wind and make it more reliable, potentially dispatchable and able to scale, but also integrated projects where even conventional wind could be paired with with new technologies.”

Texas has installed more wind energy and transmission infrastructure than any other state in the country, and has become a model of how to make wind energy work on a larger scale.

Pat Hernandez. KUHF- Houston Public Radio News.