Transmission greatest barrier to US wind energy – industry poll

49% of respondents cited transmission or interconnection issues as the single greatest barrier to wind energy development in the USA in the poll, which was carried out at the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) WINDPOWER 2009 Conference held in Chicago in May. NRG says the US economy clearly had an impact on poll results this year, with 28% of respondents identifying financing / access to capital as the second greatest barrier to wind energy development. In 2008, US federal policy was identified as the second greatest barrier.

When asked which initiative or policy would contribute most to the development of wind energy, 43% of respondents chose an upgraded national transmission system, followed by 31% who chose a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES).

Feed-in tariffs came in third with 10%, followed closely by cap-and-trade legislation with 9%. Only 7% thought banking and finance recapitalisation would contribute most to wind energy development, according to NRG.

Finance barrier

Financial issues were identified as the greatest barrier to individual company growth in the wind energy industry, with 45% of respondents identifying access to capital as the greatest barrier. Transmission / interconnection issues came in second with 25%. In last year’s poll, competition for skilled labour was cited as the greatest barrier to company growth. Despite the difficult economy climate, 72% of respondents still expect company sales to grow over the next two years. When asked if they expected their company to benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 70% answered positively and 19% were unsure, NRG says. Respondents identified North America (55%) and China (32%) as the regions that hold the greatest promise for future wind energy development. This was similar to results from last year’s poll.