Blowing in the Wind: America’s Struggle to Hold On To Wind Energy
The American wind energy industry is hanging on, but only by a thread. Competing with everything from powerful global oil companies to wealthy coastline communities to constant political wrangling, the future of American wind energy is teetering. In a November 2012 report by the Global Wind Energy Council it was stated that, “The industry’s rate of growth will slow substantially in the coming few years”. Why is it so difficult to embrace free flowing energy without so many obstacles? It is one question man may be asking himself when he is left among his own devices in a ravaged, tribal, wasteland.
The highly dramatized Congressional fiscal cliff talks before, on and even after New Year’s Eve made rock stars out of the mostly fat, grumpy, old white men who were rarely given a glance just ten years ago. Now they soak up unnecessary media attention strutting around like ruffled feathered roosters as the green industry bites their nails wondering if they will at least be thrown a scrap to motor on. Luckily that scrap came in the form of a much needed tax credit extension which will catapult year end completed wind farms for another ten years.
Not So Fast
Because our antiquated, bloated, juvenile political system took so long to pass such a tax credit, much damage was already done. In a recent N.Y. Times report, China has been able to leap forward in years of wind turbine progress simply because the U.S. stalled itself with childish, bi-partisan bickering. In anticipation of not receiving the vital tax credit, many wind companies were forced to lay off scores of employees which will be more difficult to rapidly replace and get up and running again.
Passing Us By
Even though the U.S. is one of the largest global wind turbine producers, it will be shortly surpassed by other more hungry nations. Once again, a potential, much needed U.S. export could be diverted.
Just like the ignorant U.S. car industry the wind industry could succumb to the exact same scenario. Regulations, traditions and political interference could stall wind power altogether while other countries innovate technological advances. China being the largest threat just may have some stalling of their own which may give American wind companies the leg-up they need to pass them to the finish line. China has built so many wind farms that they are being shut down due to their continued appetite for electricity. The Global Wind Energy Council does not expect growth for China until 2015 or more due to China’s inability to efficiently transport harnessed wind power from remote, windy regions too far away cities.
It seems that America will continue to make costly mistakes until other countries leave us in the dust. Currently it is Britain that just may surpass everyone as they continue a successful march toward a 20 percent renewable energy goal by 2020. Maybe a paradigm shift will occur and America will once again step up. Until then, we will be blowing in the wind.