Do you know that if the US continues to develop wind energy projects between 2013 and 2016 at the same pace to that of the last few years, global warming pollution can be reduced further by 56 million metric tons in 2016? This is equal to the pollutants spewed by 11 million cars and other passenger vehicles. These developments would also mean water savings enough to supply the water requirements of 600,000 people, and decrease air pollution by an extra 79,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 108,000 tons of nitrogen oxides.
Potential for wind energy in the US is plentiful. According to the US Department of Energy, almost 20% of America’s electricity could come from wind power by 2030 as compared to 3% in 2011. To realize that potential, building up of new generating capacities should continue at the same levels as that of the recent years, and the following federal and state policies and standards on renewable electricity are expanded and continued.
Tax credit on production
Federal PTC or production tax credit on renewable energy is one of the most vital instruments that help wind industry expand in the US. However, this is expiring by the end of 2012 and could mean a 75% drop in the construction of new generating projects.
Tax credit on offshore wind investment
The ITC or investment tax credit on offshore wind investment is meant to deal with the long-range construction and development of offshore wind energy capabilities. The tax credit is equivalent to 30% of new wind development cost and is granted to offshore developers once the construction starts. This tax credit will also terminate on December 31, 2012.
Sound and clear-cut standards on renewable electricity
Sound and clear-cut RES or renewable electricity standards helps sustain developments on wind energy by obliging utilities to acquire a specific percentage of the electricity they provide to their users from renewable sources. The RES guarantees a market for the electricity generated by wind energy developers and protects users from the sharp and wide energy price movement that goes with over- dependence on fossil fuel. At present, there are 29 states with RES. The federal government and the rest of the states should also formulate their own standards.
Renewable energy tax policies
Modifying the federal tax code by expanding the scope of two tax provisions that favored non- renewable investors could make available more private wind energy investment nationwide.
Policies on transmission upgrades
Expanding and improving electricity transmission structures will enable the connection of areas with high energy capacities to areas with high power demands. Upgrades of transmission should only be done when evidently needed and where there is minimal environmental impact.