The first wind power market in the world has installed 539 MW of power during the first three months of this year, according to the American Wind Energy Association (American Wind Energy Association). It was the worst outcome of a first quarter since 2007. The figure represents one-fifth of the power installed in the same period of 2009 (2.800 MW).
AWEA blamed the slowdown in the U.S. market to the lack of a stable long-term commitment. Therefore, the association has decided to complain to the Congress to implement a federal requirement range of renewable energy in the electricity mix, as that which already exists in some member states of the union, through so-called Renewable Energy Standards (RES) – to provide the necessary legal stability for investors.
Two key factors affect also the slowdown, according to AWEA. On the one hand, problems arising from lack of funding, which now takes an average of eighteen months, according to AWEA. Furthermore, the fall in demand for electricity consumption, which has affected the willingness of power companies sign new contracts for the purchase and sale of wind energy. With “a clear signal to the market, the industry could bounce back quickly and generate new orders,” according to Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA.
Additionally, “Americans want a RES” Bode added, referring to a poll, conducted by the consulting company Public Opinion Strategies and Bennett, Petts & Normington, indicating that 92% of Democratic voters favored a federal RES. The measure is popular at 65% of Republican voters and 69% of independents. Bode points out that the incentive programs of 2009 have rescued mature projects totaling thousands of megawatts and have avoided the loss of 40,000 jobs.
Dozens of wind energy companies have announced commitments for construction or expansion of productive capacity in the U.S., said Bode. If the federal government introduces stability in the market with measures of the long term support, wind energy companies could give a strong boost to the U.S. economy in the long term, according to AWEA. United States added 10 000 MW to its national wind farm capacity in 2009.