As wind turbines boom, nature doesn’t cooperate

Source: By James Osborne, Houston Chroncile • Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A wind farm in West Texas, outside of Roby. (Photo courtesy Rational Middle Media)A wind farm in West Texas, outside of Roby. (Photo courtesy Rational Middle Media)

Last year might have been a banner year for wind turbine construction, but not for the wind itself.

According to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the amount of electricity generated from wind turbines grew by less than 10 million megawatt hours last year, the smallest increase since 2007.

In a report Thursday government analysts attributed the slow down to decreased wind speeds across the western half of the United States during the first six months of 2015.

“The same weather patterns resulted in stronger winds in the central part of the country, where wind generation growth in 2015 was most pronounced,” the report read.

The fall off came even as wind energy capacity grew by its highest level in three years, as more than 8,000 megawatts worth of new turbines were installed on the grid, according to EIA.

That followed a long period of uncertainty around the future of a federal tax credit for wind energy. In December Congress approved an extension of the credit through the end of 2019, with payments steadily scaling down in the years ahead.