Despite Sluggish Economy, Renewable Energy Shows Strength in 2011
Uncertainty on key government policies could slow down growth in 2012
RETECH 2011 WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At the American Council On Renewable Energy's annual RETECH Trade Show and Conference, organized by TradeFair Group, industry leaders agreed that the renewable energy sector showed surprising growth for 2011. In the first half of the year, 2,151 MW of newly installed wind power and 582 MW of solar power were added to the nation's power supply.
"Renewable energy is increasingly competitive with traditional sources of energy and a growing source of grid power"
There are multiple reasons behind the aggressive growth numbers, including rapidly declining prices for solar panels and wind turbines, which means that renewable energy is becoming more and more cost-competitive with traditional sources of energy. "Renewable energy is increasingly competitive with traditional sources of energy and a growing source of grid power," said Vice Admiral (Ret.) Dennis V. McGinn, President of ACORE. "Thirty-three percent of all new power in 2010 was generated by renewable energy resources. A combination of economics and policy is driving US market growth. However, to sustain this momentum, we need long-term consistency in government policy. We are no different from other industries--renewable energy investors need policy consistency. The US economy, and American Industry and workers will be the beneficiaries of stable policy."
It is anticipated that the pending expiration of the 1603 cash grant in lieu of tax credits at the end of 2011 and expiration of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) at the end of 2012 will severely dampen the number of new projects in 2012 at a time when the jobs they would create would be most needed in the US economy. These policies have been successful in delivering billions of dollars of private sector investment in the US. According to ACORE's Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance (US PREF), $20 billion in renewable energy projects would be lost if the 1603 and PTC programs are not extended.
In a keynote address at RETECH, US Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska and ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, expressed both hopefulness about the potential for renewable energy and a desire for a more consistent federal policy. "There's a lot of reason for optimism about clean technologies. New ideas are emerging, costs are coming down, and deployment is increasing. All of those are welcome developments for our energy supply and the global environment. Federal policies have played a role, but much of the progress we've seen is the direct result of your creativity and determination." Senator Murkowski went on to describe her view on what policy leaders need to do. "Budget cuts have now begun here at home, and the Breakthrough Institute has determined that more than seventy percent of the federal support for renewable energy has either expired already or will expire within the next three years... We need to design policies that can endure both the passage of time and shifts in party lines, and that will receive consistent funding for five years or ten years or longer."
ACORE is actively working with its members to build a vision for a sound, financially viable long-term federal policy and to highlight the detrimental effects of inconsistent policy. RETECH, attended by over 2,400 renewable energy players this year, is well-known for delivering unparalleled educational content from more than 250 industry-leading speakers, covering all of the industry's key technologies: wind, solar, hydro, ocean, geothermal, biomass, biofuels, waste energy and cross-cutting sections on markets, utility perspectives, industry, finance and policy. Many of the industry's leading companies and organizations sponsor and exhibit at the event's onsite show floor.
The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) is focused on accelerating the adoption of renewable energy technologies into the mainstream of American society. ACORE provides a common platform for the wide range of interests in the renewable energy community including renewable energy industries, associations, utilities, end users, professional service firms, financial institutions and government agencies. ACORE serves as a forum through which these parties work together on common interests. For more information visit our website: www.acore.org.
About TradeFair Group:
A leading energy industry information provider, with conferences, tradeshows, e-media and print publications for the oil, gas, chemical, petrochemical, power generation, and renewable energy industry, TradeFair Group, an Access Intelligence Company, produces events throughout North America, and its publications and online properties serve a global marketplace. Additional information is available at www.TradeFairGroup.com.