Wind Construction Slows on PTC Uncertainty
The construction of new windmill capacity has slowed to a crawl with only 69 new megawatts added so far in 2013 as opposed to more than 10,000 in 2012, a reduction of more than 95 percent. Wind lives and dies with the production tax credit, a 10-year subsidy worth 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour or electricity produced. When Congress threatened to discontinue the PTC last year there was a rush to get new projects in the ground to qualify. But this was followed by a huge lull after it was extended for one year. Now, with the PTC about to expire again - perhaps permanently - there may be another mini-boomlet. The American Wind Energy Association reports that ground was broken on another 1,000 new megawatts this summer as builders once again struggled to meet a new deadline.