Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gusty Weather: A Last Record Year for U.S. Wind Power?

I think the Wall Street Journal's Keith Johnson is poking some gentle fun at the American Wind Energy Association with his first line. From Environmental Capital:
Okay, just one more record year for wind power in the U.S. But next year, really [*], things will start looking bleak.

That’s the message today from the American Wind Energy Association, which reported third-quarter wind-power numbers. The U.S. is on track to pace the world in wind-power installations again, with an estimated 7,500 megawatts of wind power slated for completion by year end. On paper, that’s about as much generation capacity as six nuclear plants. Texas alone, with more than 6,000 megawatts, is the fourth-biggest wind power “country” in the world, behind only Germany, Spain, and India....

....So what would keep wind power hopping? The AWEA has a huge wish list for the next administration—longer-term tax credits, federal clean-energy requirements, national climate-change legislation, and new investment in transmission capacity.....MORE

The stated purpose of a cap-and-trade system is to raise the price of carbon based energy to the point that folks change their behavior, thus leveling the playing field for non-carbon sources. This should obviate the need for all the other moving parts (which I bolded). I should hope that enaction of any of the RPS, tax-credit or other proposals would come with a sunset provision that kicks in if the U.S. goes to the C&T model.

*I am reminded of our Muammar Gaddafi post from last month on the "Line of Death".