A record 13.3 gigawatts of new capacity from wind producers came online in 2012, which no so coincidentally coincided with an expiring tax credit program for that year. This year, 2019, the projection is for 12.7 gigawatts of new capacity to come online. Obviously, consumer demand for alternative energy, part of our Cleaner Living investment theme, is a big driver behind this increase in construction, not to mention the efficiency improvements in the production and storage of wind energy that comes with our Disruptive Innovators theme. But regulation, the third leg of the thematic investing stool, is also providing a significant tailwind behind this construction boom:
Wind producers are eligible for a production tax credit that provides up to 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour of power for 10 years. The tax credit was scheduled to expire in 2012 but was renewed. Wind facilities that begin construction after Dec. 31 are not eligible for receive the credit.
Wind developers who want the full value of the tax credit must launch their wind-generating operations by the end of 2020, according to the Energy Department. Based on industry status reports, wind developers are rushing to finish by the end of this year with many new facilities – 5.7 gigawatts or 45 percent of the annual total – expected to come online in December.