Wind Projects Step Up Before Tax Credits Run Out

production tax credit, PTC, wind energy, wind farms, wind developersWind developers are pushing to complete wind projects before the end of 2012 in advance of the possible expiration of a federal incentive, the wind production tax credit (PTC). Under current law, projects that begin operating prior to the end of 2012 are eligible to receive a 2.2-cent PTC for each kilowatt hour of generation over a 10-year period.

Wind plant developers reported increasing amounts of new capacity scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2012 as the year progressed. Even as completed projects accumulated during 2012, the amount of capacity expected to come on line before the end of the year continued to increase.

Wind generators accounted for a significant portion of capacity additions since 2007 and were the largest source for generating capacity additions in 2008 and 2009. As of Nov. 30, 2012, the wind capacity planned to come on line by the end of December would account for approximately half of the total 2012 wind capacity additions.

If all planned wind generators for 2012 come on line, as reported by industry participants, wind capacity additions could top 12,000 MW for this year. This would account for 45% of total additions and exceed capacity additions from any other fuel source, including natural gas, which was the leading fuel source for electric generating capacity additions in 2010 and 2011.