Since U.S. President Barack Obama brought it up, repeatedly, last week during his campaign swing through Iowa, wind power has emerged as one of the most clear- cut issues of the political season.
Obama wants to renew the technology’s soon-to-expire federal production tax credit. Mitt Romney, his Republican opponent, wants to let the credit lapse.
Yet the best way to handle this is to find an option other than all or nothing. Yes, clean wind energy should receive continued federal support, as Obama says — especially at a time when the industry’s tens of thousands of jobs are helping the U.S. economy. But wind power should also be expected to make it in the marketplace on its own one day, as Romney would have it.
Onshore wind power has improved to the point where it is now the most competitive of all renewable energy sources except hydropower. According to recent estimates from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it is on a path to reach “grid parity” — the point where its cost is equal to the baseline price of power on the grid — starting in 2016… Read more