News roundup: Reid urges quick PTC extension, 2013 success stories, an Iowa blade factory celebrates
It’s Friday, and we’ve got great wind power news from Capitol Hill to Iowa fields: Harry Reid wants to make extenders a priority, American wind power evolves in 2013, and a Siemens blade factory in Iowa churns out a milestone.
Senate Majority Leader wants to fast-track Senator Wyden’s tax extenders package, which includes the PTC, making it a priority before the summer:
- Reid told reporters Tuesday that he briefly spoke with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Finance Committee, earlier that day. “I told him I want to move this bill sooner rather than later,” Reid said. “So he and I will visit further.”
- Wyden’s panel voted April 3 to send the package to the full Senate. It includes a two-year extension of the wind energy production tax credit that expired last year, along with similar extensions of incentives for biofuels, plug-in electric vehicles, alternative fuel vehicle refueling property, fuel cell vehicles, energy-efficient home construction and other provisions.
In spite of a tough year, American Wind Power is surging into 2014 with some great numbers on wind’s contribution to the U.S. power mix:
- For example, AWEA notes that the industry ended 2013 with 61,110 MW operating in the U.S. across 46,100 wind turbines in 39 states and Puerto Rico. The 905 utility-scale wind projects operating exceeded 4% of the U.S. electricity generation during 2013 and are now able to power the equivalent of 15.5 million American homes. Meanwhile, AWEA says an average of $15 billion a year is invested in new projects, resulting in the industry posting a 19.5% average annual growth over the past five years.
- Last year began slowly after a last-minute extension of the federal production tax credit (PTC) – leading to a 92% drop in U.S. installations, down from a record 13,131 MW in 2012. Nonetheless, AWEA notes that the 2013 ended with a historic 12,000 MW of new wind projects under construction.
- The robust construction pace and other favorable indicators come as discussions continue in Congress over extension of the PTC, which expired at the end of 2013. AWEA says the wind industry needs an extension of tax incentive this year to restart the development process and continue the exciting momentum that ended 2013. “In the last several years, and highlighted by the tremendous industry activity that ramped up in 2013, U.S. wind energy has shown what it can do for America,” says [AWEA CEO Tom] Kiernan. “The time is now for Congress to give the industry a green light to keep contributing jobs and clean electrons to America, by providing a stable business environment for further investment.”
Siemens makes wind turbine blades at its Fort Madison plant in Iowa, where employees are celebrating producing their 10,000th turbine blade:
- The Siemens plant in Fort Madison celebrated making its 10,000th wind turbine blade. Plant employees shared a celebratory lunch Thursday afternoon to mark this production milestone.
- The first blades the Fort Madison facility made back in 2007 were 49 yards long. That is almost half the length of a football field. The blades it produces now are 60 yards long. They weigh an incredible 10 tons each.
- The Siemens plant in Fort Madison produces wind blades for customers in the U.S.A., Canada, Chile, Peru and Brazil.
Be sure to check out all of this week’s roundups:
- Thursday: Projecting a record year, future growth, offshore moves forward
- Wednesday: PTC a success story, clean energy grows globally, Arizona calls for more renewables
- Tuesday: Breaking new records, driving down carbon emissions, conservatives embrace clean energy
- Monday: Bipartisan wind power, harvesting Texas wind, tech pioneers invest in clean energy
Timothy Cama, “Reid wants Senate vote on tax break bill 'sooner rather than later'.” The Hill. 10 April 2014.
Staff. “AWEA Highlights U.S. Wind Success Stories Of 2013.” North American Windpower. 10 April 2014.
John Garlock, “Fort Madison facility celebrates making 10,000 wind blades.” Heartland Connection. 10 April 2014.