This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 08, 2004

U.S. Wind Power Industry Expects Meager Growth in 2004

The growth of wind power in the United States has slowed to a crawl, according to a recent report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). As of early August, the industry had installed less than 30 megawatts of wind power in 2004, and AWEA expects less than 350 megawatts of new capacity by the end of the year, a steep drop from the 1,687 megawatts installed in 2003. According to AWEA, the expiration of the federal production tax credit for wind power has left more than 2,000 megawatts of new wind power projects on hold. The tax credit expired at the end of 2003, although a bill to extend the tax credit is working its way through Congress. See the AWEA press release.

One of the few new projects currently moving ahead is a 60-megawatt wind power project spearheaded by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). The utility recently won approval from its board of directors to award a contract to Renewable Energy Systems to construct a facility 6 miles south of Ainsworth, Nebraska, and the Nebraska Power Review Board approved project construction on August 26th. The utility needs to finalize agreements with other utilities on the project before construction can begin. NPPD expects the wind plant to begin operating in late 2005. See the NPPD press releases.

Meanwhile, companies in other countries are pushing ahead with offshore wind power projects. Nai Kun Wind Development Inc. is proposing to build a 700-megawatt wind plant in the strait between Prince Rupert and the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia, Canada. And Talisman Energy, an oil and gas producer, announced in late August that it will spend nearly $45 million on a deep-water wind demonstration project located about 15 miles off the coast of Scotland. The wind turbines will be located in about 100 feet of water and will provide power to nearby oil platforms in the Beatrice oil field. The project is expected to begin producing power in late 2006. See the Nai Kun Web site and the Talisman Energy press release.