No New Wind Farm Construction In PNW This Year

May 9, 2013

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. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

This year, there are no new wind farms under construction in the Pacific Northwest. 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.

Charles: “More wind will be developed. It just may not be at the speed that it was in the past ten years. We’ve gone from zero to 100 pretty quickly here.”

Charles says there were a couple of big reasons for the halt in wind farm construction. The first: uncertainty about whether Congress would renew a tax credit for wind energy producers last year. Another reason is that the amount of power people used last year went down.

Wind power generates most of the electricity that can be counted toward states' renewable energy standards. Up to 90 percent of that energy comes from wind farms. Right now, existing hydropower cannot be measured in the standards.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio