Wind energy development in the United States has slumped.
Despite record installations in 2012, and eking out a 1-year, $12 billion extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC), new wind capacity last year fell to just 1,087 megawatts, a level not seen in more than a decade. Development in 2014 is showing signs of improvement but the year may not fare much better.
The industry blames Congress and the uncertainty surrounding the PTC for the slowdown, but such thinking is overly simplistic and ignores the fundamental challenges facing big wind. This slump, like others that plagued wind development in prior years, can be traced directly to generous government assistance, current energy prices, and the inherent limitations of wind power.