The US wind industry said it will continue efforts to limit damage from the coronavirus pandemic after it was left out of a $2 trillion economic stimulus package that also excluded solar.
The two key renewable energy sectors had lobbied hard for extension to key federal tax credits to form part of the massive stimulus, which was agreed after several days of debate in congress and due to be voted on later on Wednesday.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) – which had warned 35,000 jobs and $43bn of investment are at stake – said: “While we’re disappointed clean energy sector relief did not make it into the phase three stimulus package, we will continue working with Congress and other renewable energy leaders to find solutions to the specific challenges Covid-19 is causing.
“Relief provisions ensuring renewable projects can secure financing and meet safe harbor continuity schedules are critical to preserving a strong domestic clean energy sector.”
Wind and solar developers fear lockdowns and supply chain crunches will see projects delayed beyond the end of 2020, meaning they do not qualify for the full value of incentives – in the case of the wind sector the production tax credit (PTC) that’s worth $24/MWh for electricity sent to the grid over their initial decade of operation.
On 1 January, 22.1GW of capacity was under construction in the US, according to the AWEA. Analysts at that stage were forecasting record US installations of between 13.5GW and 15.2GW.
The run up to the package’s agreement saw bitter cross-party disagreements, with Republicans and President Donald Trump accusing Democrats as trying to lever in issues such as renewables to suit their own agenda and delaying the process.