U.S. wind industry hits 70 GW capacity mark, celebrates tax credit extension
The new retroactive PTC extension allows developers to earn the full tax credit for projects that meet “commence construction” criteria in 2015 and 2016 and are completed within two years. The credit drops 20% in 2017, 20% further in 2018, and a final 20% more in 2019 before terminating on January 1, 2020.
The five-year extension is expected to drive an addtional 19 GW of wind growth over what would be deployed without the tax credits, according to new analysis from BNEF.
“By the time the new tax credit expires, solar and wind will be the cheapest forms of new electricity in many states across the U.S.,” Bloomberg reported on the findings from its research arm.
But while natural gas is still cheaper than wind across much of the country, wind is having its biggest year ever for generation in 2015 as it works in concert with gas resources to meet demand.
Wind generation on the ERCOT system, which serves most of Texas, provided 18.4% of total demand in November, reached a peak of 12,971 MW one day, and on another met over 43% of electricity demand. .
The MISO system, which spans 12 states from Manitoba to Louisiana, reached a peak of 12,614 MW at one point this year. The SPP system, which extends from the Dakotas to the Texas panhandle, hit a peak wind production of 9,564 MW in November.
The main Colorado grid, operated by Xcel Energy, got a record-setting 66.4% of its electricity from wind during a period in November.