Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

The Future of Wind Energy is in the Hands of Congress

Energy

Earth Day Network

By Franklin Russell

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

One of the fastest-growing sectors in the energy industry, wind energy, is playing a critical role in developing America’s vision for a clean, energy independent future.

In 2012, wind energy capacity in the U.S. surpassed 50 gigawatts of electricity—the equivalent of 44 coal power plants or 11 nuclear plants—and generated enough energy to power nearly 13 million homes. With more than 10 gigawatts worth of new wind farms currently under construction, the industry will soon be producing more than 60 gigawatts of electricity.

And that figure is slated to grow dramatically within the next decade. According to former President George W. Bush’s administration, wind energy has the potential to generate more than 20 percent of U.S. energy needs by 2030. With every new wind farm adding more than 1,000 jobs to an industry that already employs 75,000 people, the wind industry’s continued growth will play a vital role in helping to revitalize the U.S. economy and improve its energy portfolio.

Unfortunately, the industry is facing a major hurdle right now in Congress.

The wind Production Tax Credit, which offers wind energy producers a 2.2 cent tax credit for every kilowatt of electricity produced from wind, is set to expire at the end of this year. The credit has helped the industry slash costs by more than 90 percent since the 1980s and has fostered new investments in wind farms around the country. But that progress could be halted quickly if Congress does not extend the Production Tax Credit before it expires on Dec. 31.

Experts are warning that if the tax credit expires, it could cripple the industry’s growth and lead to more than 37,000 jobs being lost. Already, some companies are already letting go of workers in the midst of the credit’s uncertainty, including Siemens, one of the largest turbine producers in the U.S., which just announced that it is laying off more than 1,000 employees.

In addition to losing thousands of jobs, failure to extend the tax credit will increase the cost of wind electricity, which will affect not only homeowners but also the companies and small business that have committed to buying renewable energy. That’s why 19 of the most visible companies in the U.S., including Starbucks, Johnson and Johnson, Sprint and Levi’s are all calling upon congress to extend the Production Tax Credit for the wind industry.

Really, it’s a no brainer. Why would we weaken an industry that can help grow our economy and provide the clean, domestic, renewable energy that America desperately needs?

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Click here to tell Congress to Expedite Renewable Energy.

 

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less
A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less
Left: Lemurs in Madagascar on March 30, 2017. Mathias Appel / Flickr. Right: A North Atlantic right whale mother and calf. National Marine Fisheries Service

A new analysis by scientists at the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that lemurs and the North Atlantic right whale are on the brink of extinction.

Read More Show Less
Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular. Colin Dunn / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Julia Vergin

It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Data from a scientist measuring macroalgal communities in rocky shores in the Argentinean Patagonia would be added to the new system. Patricia Miloslavich / University of Delaware

Ocean scientists have been busy creating a global network to understand and measure changes in ocean life. The system will aggregate data from the oceans, climate and human activity to better inform sustainable marine management practices.

EcoWatch sat down with some of the scientists spearheading the collaboration to learn more.

Read More Show Less