Wind Energy in the U.S. currently generates enough clean energy to power 13 million homes.
American wind energy is growing by leaps and bounds. Over the last four years wind energy capacity has doubled and now generates over 50 GW of energy - the equivalent of 44 pollution-spewing coal-fired plants - which is enough energy to power 13 million homes! Wind energy provides 10 percent of the energy produced in 5 different states and more than 20 percent in North Dakota and Iowa. Altogether the industry employs more than 75,000 people and is on target to double its capacity again within the next decade. But that is now in jeopardy.
The explosive growth of the wind industry is largely attributed to the Production Tax Credits (PTC) for wind energy. The wind energy PTC gives a 2.2 cent tax credit for every Kilowatt of wind energy produced in the first decade of operation. The tax credit was first passed in 1992 and has been reinstated on and off throughout the years since then. The purpose of the credit is to reduce start-up costs and help make wind energy prices more competitive. To date, the wind energy PTC has done just that. Over the last 20 years, costs have been reduced by more than 90%.
Unfortunately, all of this success is at risk. Right now, the wind energy PTC is set to expire on December 31 st, 2012. If that happens, investors have already indicated that they will scale down production and companies will have to let go of more than 37,000 employees. As wind energy attempts to become cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuel-sources of energy, that kind of loss in financing and wind production would be crippling.
Big oil and coal companies are lobbying furiously to end the wind energy PTC and are working hard to create a political stalemate on the issue. The very same companies that are enjoying record profits and continue to receive billions of dollars in federal subsidies and tax breaks. America’s future should not be held hostage by the interests of these fossil fuel companies. It is time to let the government know how you feel.