Wind Energy Incentives in the USA

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1 Wind Energy Incentives in the USA Rob Gramlich Senior Vice President, Public Policy American Wind Energy Association

2 American Wind Energy Association Trade association for the wind energy industry Over 2,000 business members Develops policies and conducts analysis to support wind industry growth Executes wind industry s legislative agenda Promotes wind energy through advocacy, advertising and media relations Convenes conferences and workshops to educate the public and bring industry members together

3 Outline 1) Legal/Political/Economic Structure 2) State Policy: RPS, IRP, tax, other 3) Federal policy: PURPA, tax credits, government procurement, loan guarantees

4 Legal and Political Structure: A Patchwork State governments control electricity retail rates and generation resource portfolios Public Utility Commissions have authority to require low rates and reliable service from monopoly utilities State laws including Renewable Portfolio Standards over-ride PUC policies Federal government regulates interstate transmission and can provide tax incentives, has little other authority 1/3 of electric utilities are owned by consumers or city, state, or federal governments and they are exempt from most state and federal regulation. 1/3 of states have retail competition for electricity service.

5 Economic incentives to increase deployment RES, FITs increase demand. RES sets quantity, FITs set price. Tax incentives lower the marginal cost of wind energy.

6 State Policy: Renewable Portfolio Standards 29 States and Washington, D.C. have mandatory RPS programs 7 states have voluntary programs

7 State Policy: RPS features Utilities required to procure percentage of total electricity generation from renewable sources. Allowed to build and own, or purchase. Many states have technology carve-outs, allocating a portion of the compliance market to a specific technology Eligible generation produces RECs, which can be traded in regional markets to satisfy requirements Alternatively, utilities can elect to pay alternative compliant payments (ACPs)

8 Pros: State Policy: RPS Pros and Cons Stable over time Contains cost Provides utility flexibility Risk is limited through diversification across 30 states Cons: Conservative political opposition to mandates Large sectors able to secure exemptions

9 State Policy: Integrated Resource Planning Utilities in traditionally regulated states can diversify portfolios Wind is least-cost alternative to natural gas, provides hedge against fuel price volatility. Public Utilities Commissions oversee and approve IRPs. Pros: No new laws or regulations needed. Cons: Rarely used, utilities tend to opt for whichever resource is least cost based on current short term prices.

10 State Policy: Integrated Resource Planning Source: Synapse Energy Economics

11 State Policy: Tax Incentives A variety of tax credits available at the statelevel work to reduce net project costs

12 State Policy: Non-Tax Incentives State loan programs Available in 38 states State grants Available in 16 states Bonds Municipal bonds System Benefits Funds Prominent in Pennsylvania, New York, and California Public Benefits funds Provides variety of financial incentives, especially helpful in states with little experience in wind development

13 State Policy: Other Green power markets Voluntary purchases of renewables provides revenue to invest in wind energy facilities. Pros: Many residential and commercial customers motivated to reduce environmental footprint. Cons: Limited opportunities for direct sale Net Metering 47 U.S. states allow net metering; 21 states have no subscriber limits. Pros: Helps small wind Cons: No benefit to utility scale projects

14 Federal Policy: Laws increasing federal role Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, 1978 Energy Policy Act (EPACT) 1992, 2005 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 2009 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Endangered Species Act Migratory Bird Treaty Act Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act

15 Federal Policy: Tax Incentives Production tax credit (PTC) 2.2 cents/kwh. Expires end of Extensions are always short-term 30% investment tax credit for small wind 5-year MARCS accelerated depreciation schedule Future possibilities: Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) Real estate investment trusts (REITs) Carbon tax

16 Pros: Federal Policy: PTC Pros and Cons Proven to work, incentive is adequate to drive utility purchasing and development. Bipartisan support for reducing tax burden on business Cons: Impacts constrained federal budget No certainty: minimal opportunity for multiyear extensions.

17 Importance of PTC

18 Federal Policy: Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) Utilities required to purchase power from qualifying third parties at avoided cost set by states Resembles Feed-in Tariff Led to perceived excess generation and stranded costs Partially repealed in EPAct 2005 in regions where wholesale markets exist. Utilities opposed and pushed through the repeal.

19 Federal Policy: PURPA Pros and Cons Pros: Price certainty for project owners and investors No budget impact Cons: No cost containment States can circumvent

20 Federal Policy: Renewable or Clean Energy Standard (RES or CES) Have not been passed into law RES has separately passed House and Senate but never passed both chambers in the same session No current legislative activity Would set gradually increasing percentage target by utility of qualified electricity resources CES includes nuclear, natural gas, CCS

21 Federal Policy: RES/CES Pros and Cons Pros: Stability over time More bipartisan support potential than cap and trade or carbon tax. Cons: Could be diluted and less certain by inclusion of other resources Requires major federal legislation that affects every energy industry

22 Federal Policy: Government Procurement Federal renewable energy procurement requirements Current laws & regs require 5% renewable electricity consumption through 2012, increasing to 7.5% in 2013 and thereafter Department of Defense Renewable Targets National Defense Authorization Act 2010 mandates 25% renewable energy by 2025 Army: 25% by 2025 Navy: 50% by 2020

23 Federal Policy: Loan Guarantees Loans either backed by US Treasury or through a potential new Clean Energy Deployment Administration Pros: Reduces financing cost, particularly for higher risk technologies Cons: Politically associated with Solyndra Administrative burden and credit subsidy cost not worth the benefit for typical projects

24 Questions? Rob Gramlich AWEA Senior Vice President, Public Policy

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