Renewing Our Commitment to Renewable Energy During American Wind Week
John O'Connor, Business Development Senior Specialist
August 13, 2019
American Wind Week 2019 provides an ideal moment to reflect on the growth of wind energy, Olsson’s partnership in that growth, and our confidence in the future of the industry.
Wind energy production has more than tripled during the past decade. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports there are now more than 57,000 turbines in the United States with a combined capacity of nearly 98,000 megawatts. Wind represents the largest source of renewable energy in the U.S., producing 6.5 percent of the nation’s electricity – enough to power 26 million homes.
The energy sector – including wind, solar and other sources of renewable energy – is one of six major markets to which Olsson provides engineering and consulting services. We have worked on more than 300 renewable energy projects in 27 states over the past seven years.
Our commitment to wind energy, combined with the entrepreneurial culture that drives our firm, has prompted us to invest in both subject matter experts and the equipment necessary to diversify our service offerings. As a result, we help clients with everything from environmental permitting to land surveying, and civil design to geotechnical. We’ve also developed specialized services to meet the needs of our wind energy clients, including shadow-flicker studies and drone-assisted micrositing.
We are confident the wind energy industry is positioned for future growth. In December 2015, with strong bipartisan support, Congress drew a roadmap for a stable phase-out of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) by the end of this year. Investment in the sector remains strong heading into 2020, and for good reason. Competitive pricing coupled with a desire to reduce the carbon footprint has factored into increasing demand for renewable energy among utilities, corporations and individual consumers.
Private economic, governmental, and academic analyses have shown that wind energy represents the cheapest source in some regions of the county. And AWEA reports that wind-generated electricity cut carbon emissions by 200 million tons in 2018 alone.
The combination has helped make wind energy increasingly attractive to corporate buyers. Hormel, Smithfield Foods, Crown Holdings, and Ernst & Young this year joined a list of Fortune 500 companies with power purchase agreements, joining brands such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Walmart, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, General Motors, and more.
Wind energy also generates a combined $1 billion annually in the form of lease payments to landowners and tax payments to local schools and governments, according to AWEA. In addition, the industry supports about 114,000 jobs in the U.S., and it generates billions of dollars in private investment annually.
All the numbers underscore the impressive strides made by the industry over the past decade. At Olsson, we are proud to have been a part of it and we’re ready to help the industry make its next strides.
Reach John at 402.480.2358 or firstname.lastname@example.org