Wind energy is powering new investments in domestic manufacturing, but the impending expiration of a federal tax incentive is threatening the trend, the U.S. Department of Energy says in a report out Tuesday.
Amid election year debate over the wind industry’s 20-year-old federal tax credit, the Energy Department touts the economic benefits of the incentive in a commissioned analysis authored by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
About two-thirds of the equipment installed on new U.S. wind farms in 2011 came from domestic manufacturers, according to the report. That compares with an estimated
35 percent in 2006.
Further, in 2004, General Electric was the only manufacturer assembling wind turbine nacelles — the generator housings — at utility scale in the U.S., according to the report. Now eight of the nation’s Top 10 turbine suppliers have at least one manufacturing facility in the U.S.
Several companies across the wind power supply chain, however, have announced scale-backs in U.S. staff and production because of uncertainty surrounding the federal tax incentive.