While Congress is in recess for the month of August, the rest of Washington continues to hum along. Today the Department of Energy released two reports detailing the growth in the wind industry–the number one source of new power generation–here in the U.S. The Wind Technologies Market Report tells the story of the over 13,000 megawatts of wind power capacity added to the grid in 2012, double that added in 2011.The Distributed Wind Market Report indicates an 80% growth by utility-scale installations over the same time period.
Some of this is due to the extension of the wind Production Tax Credit early in 2013 with a “begin construction” rather than “placed in service” date that will give the industry more time to take orders and begin work. The credit is still set to expire, however, at the end of 2013. Several bills have been introduced in Congress that begin to set the parameters for PTC negotiations. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced a permanent extension of the PTC (H.R. 2539) that is paid for with repeal of certain fossil fuel tax credits. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) offered a holistic bill (H.R. 2081) with a PTC phase-out proposal. Most recently, Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced H.R. 2987 that offers a gradual phase-out most similar to the American Wind Energy Association analysis in December of 2012 that would allow for two technology cycles of development before the PTC ends. The Senate has not seen a bill introduction on wind energy but we expect that this tax credit will be part of the discussion around tax reform over the next several months.