Wind Energy Helps Control Your Electric Bill
For a wind energy project to be successful, there must be a buyer for the power it will produce.
Generally, this electricity is purchased by utilities, manufacturers, universities, or municipalities that demand large amounts of energy.
These large-scale customers buy wind power because:
- Unlike coal, gas, and other fuels, the cost of wind doesn’t change. The fuel for wind energy is free.
- Once a project is built, the cost of producing energy remains constant, so power purchase contracts “lock in” a predictable, steady rate for 20 to 25 years.
In many locations, the cost of wind power is already competitive with other energy sources. In fact, in some parts of the country, consumers are saving significant sums of money because utilities are buying power from wind energy projects.
Here in Maine, the power generated by the Downeast Wind project will be purchased by local Maine utilities for 20 years, at a rate 12% lower than the market rate.
“The price purchasers pay for wind has dropped by two-thirds over six years.”
— American Wind Energy Association
Wind Power Installation Is Increasing Substantially
Wind power represented 41% of electric-generating capacity additions in 2015, reflecting a large increase in market share from the year before at 24%. It was the largest source of new generation capacity in 2015, leading solar and natural gas.*
Wind Energy and Tax Incentives
Tax incentives to encourage domestic energy production are nothing new. Some oil industry tax incentives are over 100 years old. Incentives have played a major role in developing new technologies that have reduced natural gas prices and commercialized shale-oil production, helping to drive America’s current energy boom.
The Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC) is an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kWh for electricity from wind turbines. Unlike a grant or direct payment to wind energy companies, the PTC reduces income tax for wind project owners based on the amount of energy produced in the first 10 years of operation. This savings allows a project to charge lower rates for its energy. Thus, like all energy incentives, the PTC helps save money for consumers while also creating American jobs in construction, turbine component manufacturing, supply industries, trucking companies, and more.
* U.S. Department of Energy, 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report