The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has reported that in the 1rst quarter of this year 2,800 MW of new wind energy capacity was added to the nations existing stock. This is much needed good news for an industry reeling from frozen credit markets and the recession. In the first three months of this year (2009) the AWEA reported that approximately three dozen developers started wind farms in 15 states adding about twice the capacity that came on line last year during the same period. This is enough to power for more than 800,000 average American homes.
The wind energy sector has been hard hit, along with other renewable energy sectors by the financial crisis, because it has large up front capital needs. Most of the cost of a wind farm is in up front capital costs and in financing costs over the project lifetime.
In a much needed bit of good news for the sector the Treasury Department is expected to release new rules as part of the U.S. stimulus package that would allow for something closer to a rebates for wind investments as an alternative to tax credits.
So far this year somewhere around three dozen new projects had been announced with a potential of 3,540 MW of generating capacity, which is s somewhat higher figure than many in the sector had feared. Some of these projects were motivated by the stimulus package. The industry seems to be in a wait and see mode — for details in the stimulus package financing to become clear.
Even though this news does give a needed boost to moral the sector is still reeling from the credit freeze and is currently suffering major layoffs.
© 2009, Chris de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.