Sunday, December 18, 2016

U.S. Wind Power Enjoys a Rebirth as Solar's Obstacles Mount

Wind Turbines Coachella Valley Palm Springs California (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
A year after Congress extended generous tax credits for renewable energy projects, the U.S. wind industry is thriving.

Solar power companies, meanwhile, are hunkering down for a rough 2017.

The tax credit renewal has boosted the long-term outlooks for both industries.  But in the short term, the subsidies are far more attractive for wind power, which has spurred utilities to launch wind projects while they scale back or delay solar installations.

Advances in wind turbine technology are also opening up new locations for development and driving a wave of spending to upgrade existing projects.

In the last few weeks, power companies with large renewable holdings - including Southern Co, NextEra Energy Inc, and Xcel Energy Inc - have announced plans to invest billions of dollars in wind.

"We're making a pivot now away from solar," Southern Chief Executive Tom Fanning told a meeting with Wall Street analysts in October.

The wind industry tax credit is largest for projects that break ground in 2016 and will decrease each year after that before expiring at the end of 2019.  Solar's tax credit, by contrast, doesn't start to decline until 2020, giving developers an incentive to focus on wind projects first.

Read more at Analysis-U.S. Wind Power Enjoys a Rebirth as Solar's Obstacles Mount

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