One of the first wind energy projects expected to benefit from President Obama’s stimulus plan (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) is being developed by Invenergy Wind in LaSalle County, Ill. GE Energy, Schenectady, N.Y. will supply 74 of its 1.5-MW wind turbines to begin the expansion of the Grand Ridge Energy Center. When completed, the country’s wind power capacity will have increased by over 110 MW.
Several provisions in the reinvestment act encourage development of wind projects, including a three-year production tax credit (PTC) extension, an option to elect a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) in place of the PTC, a temporary program that includes an option to convert the ITC into a Treasury grant, and a new DOE loan-guarantee program. “With a White House and a Congress that support renewable energy and understand the importance of energy independence, Invenergy and GE are poised to make a significant contribution to the growth of wind energy development in the U.S.,” says Invenergy’s President and CEO Michael Polsky.
“The availability of stimulus funds paves the way for a new wave of growth for the American wind industry,” says GE Energy CEO John Krenicki. “We encourage others in the wind industry to follow Invenergy’s example and move forward with their plans to develop new wind farms to help meet the nation’s demand for cleaner energy.”
“A strong, vibrant wind industry can be a tremendous growth engine, playing a key role in building a strong future for our national economy,” adds Krenicki. “In 2008 alone, the wind industry channeled an investment of $17 billion into the economy while adding more than eight gigawatts of new generating capacity. GE played a role in the development by installing one of every two new wind turbines in the U.S.” With continuing government encouragement to accelerate its development, wind power will provide a steadily increasing percentage of U.S. electricity,” adds Krenicki.
Polsky adds that doubling the production of renewable energy in the next three years is possible with a strong and consistent energy policy. Enacting a national Renewable Electricity Standard is the single most important step Congress can take to lay the long-term foundation for a ‘green-collar’ workforce and a domestic renewable energy-manufacturing base. With this level of government commitment, and with the support of the energy industry and the American public, the country is positioned to tackle and solve our energy and environmental challenges.”
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