You may have seen wind turbines springing up all over the Pacific Northwest in the past decade. So far this year, the region’s wind industry has faced a different story.
Not a single new wind farms is under construction in the Pacific Northwest. It’s been that way since 2013 began. Compare that to last year’s boom, which increased wind capacity in the region by about 20 percent.
That’s according to an update on wind energy by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. Gillian Charles is an energy policy analyst with the council.
“More wind will be developed. It just may not be at the speed that it was in the past 10 years. We’ve gone from zero to 100 pretty quickly here,” Charles said.
She said there are a couple big reasons for the construction halt.
One: Uncertainty clouded the wind industry last year. That’s because the production tax credit was set to expire. The credit pays wind producers for the amount of energy they generate. At the eleventh hour, Congress extended the credit for one more year. But reluctant wind companies have yet to pick construction back up.
Two: The amount of power people used last year went down. It’s forecasted to stay down.
Right now, up to 90 percent of the region’s renewable energy is generated by wind farms.