Is Wind Power ready to stand on its own?
The dependency of the wind industry on government credits
The wind power industry has experienced unprecedented growth in the last 10 years. In 2003, wind power in the United States totaled six megawatts. This was about seven percent of the current installed capacity, which is about 64 Megawatts.
Can the wind industry sustain itself without credits?
Throughout its history, the wind industry has had strong dependence on favorable tax credits that were needed to make projects feasible for developers.
The question had always been: “Is the wind power industry mature enough to sustain itself without government subsidies?” If history is any indication, the answer is no. There have been various instances of tax credits expiring and the industry experiencing a dip in installations, which were restored once the tax credit was restored. The current legislation calls for a gradual phase-out of the credits by 2020 and, given the political climate, the odds for renewing the credits do not seem good.
The time has come to find out, one way or another
The time has come for the wind power industry to become fully viable like every other high-tech venture has once the venture reached an initial public offering or was acquired. Signs are pointing to this becoming a reality. On-shore wind turbines that will be entering service in 2022 are posed to be cheaper than all other forms of energy except for geothermal. Until wind power and all renewables can be sustainable as business models, our renewable energy future may never be more than a dream.