Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Wind power takes flight

Posted By on Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 2:53 PM

click to enlarge With windmills like these, Colorado is becoming a national leader in wind energy. - SAM HOWZIT
  • Sam Howzit
  • With windmills like these, Colorado is becoming a national leader in wind energy.

While coal and natural gas continue to be the primary sources of energy in the United States, wind is gaining force, according to two Department of Energy reports.

We note this in light of tomorrow's cover story that focuses on a different type of renewable energy — solar

Last year, wind became the number one source of new electricity generation in the nation, representing 43 percent of all new power additions. It accounted for $25 billion in U.S. investment, according to a press release from Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat.

And Colorado is a leader in wind power, installing 496 megawatts of new wind power capacity, bringing the state's total to 2,300 megawatts, which is the equivalent of about 13 percent of the state's electricity needs, the 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report shows. As a point of comparison, Colorado Springs Utilities has a generation capacity of roughly 1,100 megawatts.

From Bennet's release:

“Colorado continues to demonstrate its leadership in a wind industry that is helping to diversify our energy portfolio and supporting thousands of jobs for hardworking Coloradans,” Bennet said. “These reports highlight the importance of our continued investments in renewable energy sources. That is why we fought for an extension of the wind production tax credit last year and why we must continue to find innovative ways to invest in these types of energy technology.”

Bennet led efforts in Congress to extend the wind energy PTC. He led eight of the nine members of the Colorado Congressional delegation in a bipartisan letter calling for extension of the tax credit and has introduced two bipartisan amendments with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), cosponsored by Senator Mark Udall, to extend the PTC. He has also partnered with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Udall to introduce the American Energy and Job Promotion Act, a bipartisan bill to extend the PTC for wind and several other renewable energy technologies. Last July, he successfully led a bipartisan group of senators urging the Senate Finance Committee to include an extension of the PTC in a tax extenders bill the committee was considering.

Colorado generates the third highest percentage of power from wind of any state in the nation. It is home to several major wind energy developers and wind turbine manufacturing facilities, employing upwards of 5,000 workers statewide.

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