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DOE report reveals uncertain wind future beyond 2012

By: Barbara Vergetis Lundin |

In 2011, the U.S. remained one of the fastest-growing wind power markets worldwide second only to China, despite facing policy uncertainty in the coming years, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The Production Tax Credit (PTC) has helped drive the industry’s growth.

Wind power installations in 2012 are expected to be significantly higher in order to take advantage of expiring federal incentives like the PTC. But despite this growth, the report says that 2013 may see a dramatic slowing of domestic wind energy deployment if federal renewable energy tax incentives do expire.

The potential expiration of these incentives at the end of 2012, along with continued low natural gas prices, modest electricity demand growth, and existing state policies that are not sufficient to support continued capacity additions, threatens to dramatically slow new builds in 2013 and beyond, despite recent improvements in the cost and performance of wind power technology.