DOE promotes wind power in reports

The Department of Energy (DOE) is trying to promote wind power as an innovative, low-carbon energy source with a series of reports released Monday.

The reports, written by DOE and some of its laboratories, found that the United States ranks second to China in wind energy installation and wind power provides 4.5 percent of the country’s electricity, among other conclusions.

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“As a readily expandable, domestic source of clean, renewable energy, wind power is paving the way to a low-carbon future that protects our air and water while providing affordable, renewable electricity to American families and businesses,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement.

DOE used the reports to advocate for reinstatement of the wind energy tax credit, a tax break for wind energy production that expired last year.

“The continued success of the U.S. wind industry highlights the importance of policies like the production tax credit that provide a solid framework for America to lead the world in clean energy innovation while also keeping wind manufacturing and jobs in the U.S.,” Moniz said.

A Senate panel voted earlier this year to renew the credit, but the proposal did not move forward. The tax break has proven extremely controversial in Congress.

DOE released two reports Monday. One focuses on the market for wind energy technology and the other is about distributed wind energy, which is installed at homes, businesses or other sites that are not utility-scale generation facilities.

Utility-scale wind power is in 39 states and territories, and spurs $500 million in exports annually, DOE said. Wind power is at an all-time low price, and utilities are buying it to save money.

Distributed wind power accounts for more than 80 percent of all wind turbines in the United States, the department said. The 72,000 turbines generate enough electricity to power 120,000 homes, and are found in every state and two territories.

Along with the reports, DOE released a video, infographics and an interactive map, and will host a chat later Monday to answer questions about wind power.

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