Countries across the world have realized the amazing potential in wind power, places like Holland have recognized it for centuries. Yet only recently has the U.S. begun to truly commit to investing in the raw power of the Earth's atmosphere. While oil men like T. Boone Pickens have ulterior motives in the wind business, many investors have good business sense with relatively pure hearts. So in the face of government knuckle-dragging, we have still forged ahead of everyone else on the planet.
According to Environmental Finance , the U.S. is now the leader in wind energy generation with total installed wind power capacity currently at 19,549MW, up 2,726MW from the end of 2007. And although Germany has more installed generating capacity, the U.S. actually produces more electricity due to stronger winds. Further, "U.S. wind capacity is expected to increase 45% in 2008 although Congress' failure to extend the production tax credit (PTC) for the renewable energy industry threatens to derail further development, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)."[...]
Despite all of this good news on wind, there is a grey lining:
The rapid growth of the wind energy industry, however, is being threatened by the inability of Congress to pass legislation to extend the PTC for renewable energy projects, he said. The PTC is set to expire at the end of 2008, and many projects are being rushed to completion by the end of this year, Swisher said [American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) executive director Randall Swisher].
Investment in new wind energy projects beyond 2008 has stalled due to the failure to extend the credits, Swisher said. "If there is a great deal of uncertainty in the market and in policies in the market, that investment capacity will be deployed elsewhere", he said. "It's just ludicrous that the Congress is letting this opportunity slip away." - Environmental Finance
The potential in our country, especially in the midwest and mountainous regions is incredible. Even with the limited amount of turbines we have installed, they outperform other sites on the planet. And although Congress has largely ignored alternative energy for decades, it is time for the coming 111th Congress to get it's act together and succeed where prior Republican majorities failed. I am convinced that we can power the planet with wind and solar technology alone. Pushing these budding industries along is the smartest....and most necessary thing we as Americans and ultimately as a planet must do in the early part of the 21st century.