Even With PTC, America’s Largest Wind Company Forecasts ‘A Down Year’ in 2013


During the debate to retain the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) last year, wind advocates offered a variety of spurious claims in an intense lobbying effort to keep the favorable tax treatment. In one case, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) warned that new wind installations would decline precipitously if Congress allowed the PTC to lapse.

If this argument is correct, it would stand to reason that the one-year extension and expansion of the PTC included in the fiscal cliff deal would mean 2013 will be at least as good a year as 2012 for wind construction, yet already wind developers are trying to lower expectations.

NextEra Energy, the country’s largest wind developer, forecasted a weak year for wind construction even after securing the PTC extension. At the company’s earnings call on Tuesday, NextEra CFO Moray Dewhurst said, “2013 will be a down year for new wind compared to 2012, as it will take time for the wind supply chain to gear up.” According to the AWEA fact sheet cited above, extending the PTC was essential for wind “to be part of America’s energy mix.” But even with the PTC, it appears wind will face sluggish growth this year.

The federal government has supported the wind industry for more than three decades, yet wind developers, according to their own studies, still rely on the PTC to maintain current growth in wind capacity. When can we expect wind power to demonstrate its viability in the marketplace without government handouts? If we take NextEra at its word, 2013 is out of the question.

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