October 6, 2017 Read More →

U.S. Wind Exec Sees Industry Booming With or Without Tax Credits

GreenTech Media:

U.S. wind installations could top 10 gigawatts a year, even after the federal Production Tax Credit runs out in 2020, a top asset holder said.

“I think that 2020 is probably going to be a gargantuan year for the industry, with folks trying to get their projects done before the end of the 100 percent PTC,” said Mark Goodwin, president and CEO of Apex Clean Energy. “But I think it will continue to be strong, [with] 10+ gigawatts hopefully installed per year.”

The estimate was “seat-of-the-pants,” Goodwin noted, and could go higher or lower depending on government policy. “I think it’s a good mid-range, maybe even low,” he said.

Apex has some experience with large amounts of wind development. It was America’s biggest wind installer in 2015, beating NextEra Energy Resources to the top slot by bringing more than a gigawatt of capacity on-line.

The installation estimate is significantly higher than that in MAKE Consulting’s Q3 2017  Global Wind Power Market Outlook Update. This predicts 59 gigawatts of new capacity between 2017 and 2026, or less than 6.6 gigawatts a year.  

Like Goodwin, MAKE sees a strong outlook for wind towards the end of the PTC.

“2019 and 2020 increasingly appear to be ‘boom years’ that will strain the wind industry’s capacities ahead of policy expiration,” said the update.

Post-PTC, though, “expectations remain grim and unchanged amid weakness in demand for power, large-scale pre-2022 subsidized renewables build and other market factors,” MAKE said.

Apex, which is probably among the top two U.S. wind installers in terms of project pipeline, doesn’t share that view.

“We think that with the improvements in the technology, the economics will remain strong in 2021 and during the phase-out of the PTC,” Goodwin said.

More: US Will Soon Surpass 10 Gigawatts of Wind a Year, Apex Chief Predicts

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