The world of ‘green’ energy is celebrating the latest statistics indicating that wind turbines produce more electricity than gas-fueled power plants for a first time. The estimated wind capacity reached 6,519 megawatts in November this year, which is around 200 megawatts more than gas and twice as much as coal.
Possible explanation of these numbers is the upcoming expiration of the renewable energy tax credit on December 31st. Taking advantage of the subsidies triggered the shift of interest from gas-fired stations to wind farms. To qualify for the 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of power, a company should produce wind energy and be online by 1st of January.
The company that released the numbers is Ventyx Inc., owned by the Swiss ABB Ltd (ABBN), who promises to release the full statistical record in January.
According to Amy Grace, leader of the North American wind industry analysis for Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New York, the numbers will be very close this year, although wind energy is leading the chart. If the incentive is not extended, forecasts predict 88% fall for wind turbine installations. However, it is possible that more wind-farm connections in November and December double the amount of wind capacity, as reported by New Energy Finance.
According to chief economist at AWEA, Elizabeth Salerno, this year is of a particular importance, because there is a lot more to lose. If the increase in gas prices continues, then wind energy would be very competitive and needed.
In any case, many utilities in the U.S. are already required to supply energy from renewable sources, regardless of whether the tax credits are renewed or not.