Today’s New York Times finds an article on where wind power is headed; it’s part of "The Energy Challenge" series of articles, covering ways in which the world is and isn’t moving towards sustainability. The article discusses how wind power and tax credits have become symbiotic; if Congress chooses not to continue tax credits for wind power, we may find that that alternative energy source no longer sees new plant production.
Wind energy holds a very small niche in the overall energy production picture for the United States, covering only 1% of total generative capacity; it is very much a part of the idea of diversifying our energy resource pools by taking on a large number of small projects in alternative energy. Other efforts have focused on such resources as tidal power (power generated by tidal forces on the ocean floor), biomass power (usually via methane generation), and, of course, solar power. The energy industry is very diversified as it attempts to find these alternatives; what’s funny is that none of them (to my knowledge) have committed to completely eliminating particular forms of energy production, such as coal or nuclear plants. I do not call such a plan practical, necessarily, since a lot of our energy production is tied up in such resources, but wouldn’t it be interesting if tomorrow morning, the likes of Shell or BP stood up and said they wanted to eliminate all coal-fired power plants from the face of the earth while preserving the jobs that those plants provide?