The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the national trade association for the wind energy industry in the United States, is sounding the alarm over the industry's future viability without a national renewable energy standard.
AWEA released a report on the state of the industry revealing that U.S. utility companies have installed more oil and gas power plants during this year than win and other renewable energy. In comparison, wind roughly matched natural gas over the previous two year, according to the report.
Other findings were that wind power capacity being installed to the grid in 2010 would fall 25-45 percent before 2009 levels. It failed to offer any quantitative projections beyond 2010, instead saying that there would be a "dramatic drop" in the development pipeline without stable government policy. AWEA credits Recovery Act Funding for bringing pending projects to completion.
AWEA is lobbying for the United State Congress to act to create a standard that would require utilities to produce a percentage of power from renewable energy sources. It argues that the absence of a standard has discouraged investment in new manufacturing facilities and has effectively made the U.S wind industry less competitive than counterparts in Europe and China where it says long-term policy commitments are in place.
In 2007, China announced its "National Action Plan" plan for climate change, which includes targets for increasing it’s the proportion of electricity the country generates from renewable energy. A 2008 European Union directive called for each member state to increase its share of renewable energy.
"Strong federal policy supporting the U.S. wind energy industry has never been more important,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode in a prepared statement. “We have an historic opportunity to build a major new manufacturing industry. Without strong, supportive policy like an RES to spur demand, investment, and jobs, manufacturing facilities will go idle and lay off workers if Congress doesn’t act now - before time runs out this session."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced an energy bill entitled the "Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act" yesterday. It does not contain a provision for a national renewable energy standard.