AWEA: Midterm Election Results Seen as Favorable for Wind Industry

The results of the 2010 midterm elections bode well for the struggling U.S. wind sector, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The industry group’s president, Denise Bode, made the statement during a live webcast on Friday.

The U.S. wind industry saw its slowest growth since 2007 in the third quarter of 2010, Bode and AWEA Director of Industry Data & Analysis Elizabeth Salerno said in the webcast. Year over year, industry installations plunged 72% in 2010 compared with 2009, even though the U.S. was installing as much as wind power capacity as Europe and a third as much as China.

Wind took a battering compared with other sources of power, the AWEA officials said: Last year, wind accounted for 39% of new installed power capacity, versus 13% for coal. In the first nine months of 2010, however, wind accounted for only 14%—compared with coal’s 39%

Still, the outlook as a result of the elections is promising, Bode said. Among key measures beneficial to the wind sector was the defeat of California’s Proposition 23, which would have suspended that state’s controversial AB 32, or the “Global Warming Act of 2006,” until unemployment in the state dropped below 5.5% for 12 months. According to AWEA, the defeat was important because Proposition 23 would have “undone California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (also known as a Renewable Electricity Standard) and sent us backwards.”

Under the new U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, Congress could also prioritize market-based policies that drive renewable energy—tax credits and resource portfolio standards—because they reduce “dependence of foreign sources of energy,” the officials said. “We’re the fastest growing manufacturing sector, with nearly 400 factories supplying components to the industry,” Bode said, a point she repeated several times throughout the webcast.

Among the other key officials whose election bodes well for wind is the Senate’s Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), “given his active involvement in [clean energy and transmission issues.” Supporters of offshore wind energy also fared well in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. In addition, winning gubernatorial candidates who favor wind energy included Deval Patrick (D-Mass), Rick Perry (R-Texas), Peter Shumlin (D-Vt.), Jerry Brown (R-Calif.), and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.).

Sources: POWERnews, AWEA

SHARE this article