Net Annual Installed Wind Power Capacity in the United States, 1998–2009
Job growth in the wind industry is driven by wind power demand. The countries that lead in wind energy jobs are those that offer a stable and predictable framework for investment in wind power generation. The countries leading development of wind energy use a range of support policies to help speed up deployment and drive technological innovation and cost reductions, including feed-in-tariffs and renewable energy standards. Additionally, a price on carbon would send investors a long-term market signal and allow wind power to become competitive with fossil fuels, increasing the overall demand for turbines and equipment and thus the number of jobs. These policy tools create a legal framework that guarantees predictable returns to wind energy investors, but do not provide a direct government subsidy.
In contrast, in the United States, federal support for the wind industry has been through the production tax credit (PTC), subject to periodic renewal. In years where the PTC expired, new wind investments collapsed. Large wind markets with stable long-term financial support in the forms of a feed-in tariff, such as Germany and Spain, have seen more constant market expansions and job creation.
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