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Pierre Bull’s Blog

Don't Unplug Success: Wind Hits Milestone Growth

Pierre Bull

Posted August 8, 2012 in Green Enterprise, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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This week, AWEA announced a significant milestone in the growth of home grown, renewable energy.   As a nation, we should be celebrating this as a moment of collective success brought about by innovation, hard work, and smart policies that are putting Americans back to work.  Sadly, the celebration may be a short one if Congress doesn't act swiftly when it returns in September to continue the Production Tax Credit (PTC), a key factor in wind power's startling expansion.

According to AWEA's analysis, the United States will surpass 50 gigawatts (GW) of installed wind power capacity this week. That is enough to power over 13 million American households a year.  This signifies a major accomplishment for an industry that was predicted to deliver only a quarter of that amount in 1999.  How did this growth happen?

According to Denise Bode of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA):   

"The industry was able to hit that capacity [50 GW] -- double the 25 GW that was installed four years ago -- because of a consistent ability to rely on the production tax credit (PTC) ... One of the reasons we were able to double this in the last four years is because for the last five years we have not allowed the PTC to expire."

The PTC is set to expire on Dec 31st of this year.  Wisely, the Senate Finance Committee included extension of the PTC when reporting its bipartisan bill just before Congress adjourned for August.   Now it is up to the full House and Senate to finish the job without delay or risk pulling the rug our from under a true American success story just as its getting started.  

You can join us in urging Congress to swiftly renew the PTC or risk losing this domestic job creating industry to another country who is just as eager to lead the clean energy revolution.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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