Development of wind-based electric generation outpacing natural gas power in high-wind states, helped by U.S. production tax credit for renewable energy projects, according to Bloomberg Government study

LOS ANGELES , June 13, 2011 () – States with high winds are expanding wind-based electric capacity faster than they are developing natural gas power, helped by the U.S. production tax credit for renewable energy, according to a Bloomberg study, Bloomberg News reported on June 7.

States with strong winds to drive turbines, such as North Dakota, have increased their share of electricity generation from natural gas by less than 1% over the past decade, a Bloomberg Government study found.

At the same time, low-wind states such as Florida, boosted their natural-gas share of electricity by 17%, according to the study, Bloomberg reported.

In 2010, natural gas was the basis for 24% of all U.S. electricity generated, compared with 16% in 2000, the study indicated.

Electricity generated by coal fell by 9.1% in states where wind provides less than 1% and dropped 11.1% in states without any wind power. Conversely, in high- and medium-wind states, coal-generated power fell by a lesser 5.1% and 1.9%, respectively.

Wind power usually overshadows the more expensive alternatives to generating electricity in states that benefit from federal and state subsidies, wrote Paul Hughes, a senior economic analyst for Bloomberg Government, in the study.

Much of the “displaced energy,” has been natural-gas generated, he said, reported Bloomberg.

Encouraging the growth of wind energy has been a production tax credit of US$0.022 per kilowatt hour of wind energy, which was first established in 1992, applies to the first decade of production and is set to expire at the end of 2012.

The use of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal is required in mandates passed by 29 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to data collected by North Carolina State University with funding from the Energy Dept., Bloomberg reported.

The primary source of this article is Bloomberg News, New York, New York, on June 7, 2011.

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