Published on January 12th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer1
Obama to Add 20 GW of Wind Power in 3 Years
An aide to Obama said Friday that the administration plans to add 20 gigawatts (GW) or more of wind power and 4 GW of geothermal and solar power by 2012 through loan guarantees and fast tracked national renewable energy requirements, like the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Last May the U.S. Energy Department estimated wind power could provide almost a quarter of U.S. electricity.
Trade groups from the U.S. wind and solar industries were happy with the news, considering that the current economic environment for commercial credit has lowered all boats as it were, with all investment now endangered – not just investment in risky financial instruments, but even those investments in renewable energy that are essential to growing a stable economy.
No other country, in any single year, has added the volume of wind capacity that was added to the US electrical grid in 2007 with both wind and solar growing well over 40%, but with the credit crunch affecting all sectors of the economy, new projects could drop by as much as 50%, without help from the Federal government.
In response to the news, renewable energy shares soared following the announcement, with the rally continuing into Friday. The move was an about-face for many of those stocks, which have been battered by a string of recent earnings warnings from solar companies including Germany’s Q-Cells, U.S.-based MEMC Electronic Materials Inc , and China’s LDK Solar Co Ltd;.
Renewable Portfolio Standards require utilities to buy a certain amount of renewable energy. Most energy policy analysts consider the RPS to be “one of the most important drivers of renewable energy deployment in the U.S.,” says Ryan Wiser, of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division.
Currently 30 of the 51 states are beginning to implement Renewable Portfolio Standards in the absence of Federal climate action, and the further along they are, the more renewable energy is bought in those states to meet the requirements. Early RPS adopters like California, now make as much as 14% of their electricity from renewable energy.
With no RPS requirement; by contrast – the typical non RPS state like Oklahoma or Wyoming makes less than 1% from renewable energy, dragging down the national average.