RICHLAND, Wash. – A new report (PDF) from the American Wind Energy Association ranks Washington No. 6 and Oregon No. 7 in wind energy installations though the third quarter of this year. The states rank high even though neither Oregon nor Washington added or expanded any wind projects during the past three months.
Nationwide, this was the busiest quarter since 2008, the report states. Renewable Northwest Project deputy director John Audley says more companies are working to complete projects before the federal production tax credit and state incentives end next year.
“We’re seeing quite a build-out as reflected in the third-quarter statistics,” Audley says.
For the Pacific Northwest, Audley says, previous wind installation projects have been much more productive. He says this year’s projects are much smaller in number than in 2010.
“What we are suffering from in the Pacific Northwest is the kind of economic malaise that makes the demand for new power sources harder to find,” he says.
Audley does expect to see wind energy installation pick up through next year, if companies can find a market to sell power. He says companies consider several variables when looking for a market:
A strong economy where customers and industries are looking for power.
A market for renewable power, encouraged by state renewable energy standards.
Sufficient access to transmission lines.
Renewable Northwest Project estimates that Washington (PDF) has received $5.6 billion in wind energy investments, and $40 million in property tax revenue. The organization estimates that Oregon (PDF) has received $4.5 billion in wind energy investments, and $55 million in property tax revenue.
Currently, Washington has installed 2,356 megawatts of wind energy, Oregon has 2,305 megawatts, and Idaho has 475 megawatts.
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