Comment: The state of the wind industry is strong

Source: By Tom Kiernan, American Wind Energy Association, The • Posted: Monday, January 26, 2015

The strength of the U.S. wind industry is attracting the notice of the highest levels of government. In his State of the Union address, President Obama noted that the U.S. leads the world in wind generation.

The fact that the U.S. is #1 – leading even China — comes from an analysis by EDF Renewable Energy executive Dr. James Walker. Wind energy is an American success story: the U.S. invented utility-scale wind farms, and by investing in them here in the U.S., we now have some of the best infrastructure this country has ever built.

How did we become #1? America is blessed with excellent wind resources, and hard-working Americans have made great strides in capturing and delivering more wind energy to American consumers. That is why the average U.S. turbine is more productive – powering more homes than turbines in other countries – due to technological progress.A key, successful federal tax policy has encouraged companies to become this efficient, by only rewarding performance. Unfortunately, Congress let the renewable energy Production Tax Credit expire once again at the end of 2014. By providing a long-term, stable policy, we can retain our number one status, keep well-paying jobs and invest in American communities.

There is bipartisan support for this tax incentive, as shown in the State of the Union address and the GOP rebuttal. Newly-elected Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who delivered the rebuttal, may not agree on much with President Obama. One thing they do agree on is that investing in wind power makes sense and that the Production Tax Credit is the right policy to continue growing this abundant, homegrown resource.

If the parties come together to pass this commonsense policy, the U.S. can write the next chapter on the historical rise of wind power. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s forthcoming Wind Vision report, American wind power can double wind by 2020 and double again by 2030 to provide 30 percent of U.S. energy. We can do all this and save consumers money simultaneously if policymakers keep supporting federal tax incentives to attract the necessary private investment.

Kiernan is CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.