|Brazos Wind Farm, Texas. Source: Wikipedia Commons.|
|Source: Wikipedia Commons|
However, as can be seen in the graph above, installed new capacity peaked in 2009 and The Guardian reports today that while total US wind power capacity eclipsed 50 Gigawatts this year, layoffs are occurring throughout the sector because of a possible expiration of a wind power production tax credit at the end of 2012.
Extension of the wind power production tax credit is presently under consideration by Congress and it has become a subject of considerable political debate as it falls in the crosshairs of energy policy, tax policy, alternative energy subsidies, deficit concerns, etc. (see articles here and here). The resulting industry uncertainty is stalling investment, delaying projects, and leading to layoffs. Is this a short-term blip or a more serious long-term stalling of an industry attempting to produce 20% of the US power supply by 2030? The answer my friends isn't blowin' in the wind, but in the smoke-filled rooms of Washington.