Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More U.S.-Made Wind Turbines Are Being Sold Overseas as Congress Fails to Support Wind Power

A rainbow is the backdrop for wind turbines at the Smoky Hill Wind Farm near Ellsworth, Kan., Monday, Feb. 20, 2012. (Credit: AP/Orlin Wagner) Click to enlarge.
A report released by the Department of Energy Monday shows a substantial increase in the percentage of American-made small wind turbines being sold to other countries, driven in part by Congress’ refusal to act on renewing a key subsidy for the U.S. wind industry, which has created uncertainty in the market.

A vast majority — 76 percent — of the small wind turbines manufactured in the United States were exported to other countries last year, the DOE’s 2013 Distributed Wind Market Report said.  That’s a big increase from 2012, when only 57 percent of U.S.-made small turbines were exported.  The market for U.S. turbines is spread across the world, too — small wind turbines produced here were sold to more than 50 countries, the report said, with top export markets in Italy, Germany, China, and Mexico, among others.

“To compensate for weaker domestic sales, U.S. small wind turbine manufacturers shifted their focus to growing international markets,” The report read.  “Importers interviewed for this report indicated that they spent their efforts in more promising international markets … as it was hard to justify sales efforts in the United States without consistent policy support at the federal, state, and utility levels.”

The wind energy industry has struggled to receive consistent policy support particularly within Congress, which most recently refused to revive the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) — a $13 billion yearly tax break to the wind industry that has historically helped them compete with fossil fuels.  The PTC for wind is a subsidy that’s been built into the tax code for years to encourage growth in the wind industry, but expired on January 1, 2014 due to Congressional gridlock.

More U.S.-Made Wind Turbines Are Being Sold Overseas as Congress Fails to Support Wind Power

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