Jul 1, 2014

Is America’s Wind Boom Over? [Infographic] via Popular Science

Popular ScienceThe production tax credit for renewable energy expired—most recently—at the end of 2013, and it's unclear if Congress will renew it again. The program gives wind farms 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of renewable energy they pump into the U.S. grid. Since it was enacted in 1992, the incentive has driven a sevenfold increase in the number of U.S. turbines. "Wind has grown so much that it's approaching hydroelectric in scale," says Gwen Bredehoeft, an analyst with the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Without the tax credit, Bredehoeft says, new turbine construction will probably stall until at least 2030, when the country will need more energy generation. Until then, this is the American wind-energy landscape. 

Katie Peek

Left: Total U.S. Wind-Energy Capacity In Gigawatts. When a renewable-energy tax credit was in place [represented by diagonal lines], energy companies raced to build new turbines. Each time the credit expired [yellow columns], construction—and hence capacity—flattened out. Right: U.S. Wind Turbines By Type.
Katie Peek

This article originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Popular Science

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