Is wind energy investment struggling?

Various recent news articles describe a tightening of credit available for renewable projects, symptoms perhaps of low oil prices and the credit crunch.

According to a Dow Jones newsletter service (10/20), GE is temporarily abandoning the tax equity market:

GE Energy Financial Services, one of the top providers of tax equity for renewable energy projects, temporarily dropped out of the game, according to Timothy Howell, managing director and head of origination for renewable energy at the General Electric Co. (GE) division….

…Several major developers like Horizon Wind Energy LLC, Iberdrola Renewables, Acciona and others that have major projects close to or in construction can no longer avail themselves of GE’s capital, which they used previously. Horizon Wind received commitments for $300 million in tax equity from GE early this year; Noble Environmental Power, a wind developer currently in registration to go public, received a $100 million commitment from GE in July…

Washington Post (10/20) “As Fuel Prices Fall, Will Push For Alternatives Lose Steam?”

Just four months ago, a conference here on electric cars drew four times as many people as expected. District fire marshals ordered some of the crowd to leave, and the atmosphere was more like that of a rock concert than an energy conference. A brief film depicted an electric car owner driving off with a beautiful woman to the strains of “The Power of Love” while her original companion struggles to pay for gasoline. The audience cheered…

Wall Street Journal (10/20) “Winds Shift for Renewable Energy As Oil Price Sinks, Money Gets Tight”:

The prospects of renewable-energy companies soared with oil prices, but the global credit crunch and the easing of energy costs have brought them back to earth with a thud. With banks reluctant to lend and their stock prices tumbling, many green-energy concerns are struggling to find the long-term funding they need to expand in a capital-intensive industry…

And from the New York Times (10/21), “Alternative Energy Suddenly Faces Headwind“:

For all the support that the presidential candidates are expressing for renewable energy, alternative energies like wind and solar are facing big new challenges because of the credit freeze and the plunge in oil and natural gas prices. Advocates are concerned that if the prices for oil and gas keep falling, the incentive for utilities and consumers to buy expensive renewable energy will shrink. That is what happened in the 1980s when a decade of advances for alternative energy collapsed amid falling prices for conventional fuels…

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