Wind Power Development Hits Record

Future expansion depends on tax credit renewal, says research group.

Wind power installations reached an estimated record of $3 billion in 2007 as developers and manufacturers of the technology took advantage of a federal wind-energy production tax credit (PTC) that runs through Dec. 31, according to news service and research firm Industrial Info Resources.

As of May 1, wind-power capacity in 2008 increased 1,700 megawatts, with an additional 7,900 megawatts currently under construction in 26 states. The new capacity could represent an 84% increase over the 2007 record of 5,200 megawatts.

Between 2009 and 2013 more than 447 wind farms representing more than 70,000 megawatts, or $133 billion, are expected to be developed.

But future development is dependent upon Congressional approval of a PTC extension, notes Shane Mullins, vice president for product research for Industrial Info.

"Without a PTC extension the industry could see more than 80% of the planned capacity cancelled or delayed until economic conditions improve for many of the projects on the books," he says. "When the PTC was allowed to expire on three separate occasions, between 1999 and 2004, development pretty much stopped until it was renewed. However, since 2004 29 states have passed Renewable Portfolio Standards that call for the development of more than 60 gigawatts of new capacity by 2020."

The top 10 states for wind energy development include Texas, Illinois, New York, South Dakota, Kansas, North Dakota, Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland, according to Industrial Info.

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