Wausaukee Composites, a southwest-Wisconsin based manufacturer of highly-engineered composite components for Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) customers in various industries, had to close its doors last month. According to a Edward Trueman, president and CEO of the company, the closure was due to the increasingly unstable wind energy industry – in part to the stalled passage of the production tax credit through Congress and the expanding natural gas market. “It was a combination of political uncertainty along with cost- effectiveness of natural gas generation affecting our two largest customers,” said Mr. Trueman.
Meanwhile, the Department of Energy (DOE) recently released two reports showing the growth of the wind market. According to the reports, wind energy became the top source (43 percent) of new electricity generation capacity in the U.S. last year. Over 13 gigawatts (GW) of new wind power capacity was added to the U.S. grid last year, making the U.S.’ total wind capacity surpass 60 GW at the end of 2012. Since 2000, the installed wind energy capacity in the U.S. has increased more than 22-fold, with a 10-year cumulative installed capacity of more than 812 megawatts (MW) at the end of 2012, which grew by 175 MW in the last year alone. The Obama Administration plans to double renewable electricity generation again by 2020. In addition, wind project costs are hitting record-lows, making them much more affordable and competitive.
Mr. Trueman, however, is skeptical about the industry’s future due to its dependence on taxpayer dollars: “If wind energy could be produced and stand on its own without subsidy, that would be a positive development, but I don’t see that as being in the cards right now.”
CEO: ‘Political uncertainty’ led to closure, Dubuque Telegraph Herald
Energy Dept. Reports: U.S. Wind Energy Production and Manufacturing Reaches Record Highs, Department of Energy
Interactive Infographic: Wind Market Growth, Iowa Energy Center
Wind Energy Prices Hit Lowest Level In 8 Years As Industry Explodes, Think Progress