OAKESDALE, Wash. – Wind energy technology has vastly improved over the past five years. Turbines now produce more energy, more efficiently, said Ben Fairbanks, First Wind’s director of development in the west. He said that’s because of competition created, in part, by the production tax credit, known in the industry as the PTC.
Over the past four years that First Wind has been planning the Palouse Wind Farm, Fairbanks said, the farm’s energy generation has dramatically increased. He said that’s something a lot of people are not talking about.
“It’ll be hard to predict how an end to the production tax credit will effect research and development,” Fairbanks said.
Fairbanks said a lot of development has been fueled by the need for renewable energy. He said a lot of energy companies are diversifying with solar, natural gas and transmission projects.
“Well-sited wind projects will still be viable without a PTC,” he said. “There might be a slow-down in the market as developers and manufacturers try to figure out how to make their product as cost-competitive with the PTC. That will take a little bit of time. We’ll just have to see how things work out.”
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