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Exelon exec asserts PTC irrelevant to wind industry prospects

September 25th, 2012 · No Comments

Last week, at the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC)’s annual “summit, Exelon had a major presence. This shouldn’t surprise anyone as with Exelon’s acquisition of Constellation Energy, Exelon became a major player in the Maryland economy and Marylanders’ energy use become a significant portion of the Exelon business portfolio.

With Exelon sponsorship came various visible roles, including a luncheon speech by Bill von Hoene, Exelon’s Chief Strategy Officer.

In his talk, Hoene laid out how Exelon has the “cleanest” and least expensive electricity generating fleet of any major electricity producer selling into the market (due, primarily, to Exelon’s nuclear power comprising 55% of its electricity generation). He spoke about how Exelon is committed to Exelon 2020 (its sustainability program), talked about Exelon’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in Maryland, and stated that Exelon is committed to “actively shape the national conversation about clean energy”.

With that in mind, it wasn’t surprising that he took on the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) recent expulsion of Exelon from the organization as Exelon has taken a stance against the Production Tax Credit (PTC) being renewed. Hoene laid out his case for how conditions have changed since the PTC was created — with states having renewable portfolio standards, wind technology having advanced, and other changed factors. While perhaps not agreeing with these as strong enough to justify ending the PTC, the points were interesting. Interesting, however, turned to jaw dropping with this sentence.

Let us be clear, the end of the PTC will not impact the development of wind energy.

“Let us be clear”: this statement does not stand up to even the barest of scrutiny.

Rather than a detailed analysis, with 100s of citations to back up the discussion, the graphic below provides the simplest way to understand this:

Historic Impact of PTC Expiration on Annual Installation of Wind Capacity

In other words, every single time the PTC has ended, wind projects have nose-dived with disruption to wind industry supply chains and other impacts.

Simply put, “let’s be clear”, the Exelon executive team might find it in its business interests to oppose the Production Tax Credit. In explaining (and defending) that decision, however, Exelon doesn’t do anyone any good by statements that fly in the face of common sense.

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Tags: Energy · wind power