“You see these continual modifications and advancements in the designs and materials being used to help squeeze that much more efficiency out of the fuel, which is the wind,” McNabb said.
The federal report, written by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, comes as the extension of a federal wind production tax credit increasingly becomes a presidential campaign issue.
President Barack Obama has touted the tax credit as part of his energy policy, while presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney has called for its elimination. Romney's position puts him at odds with several Republican lawmakers and governors.
The incentive, which has been around since 1992, gives a 2.2 cent per kilowatt hour credit for electricity from wind generation.
The credit cost is about $1.3 billion in the 2012 fiscal year, according to estimates from Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation. Without congressional action, the incentive expires Dec. 31.
Uncertainty over the credit's future led wind-tower manufacturer DMI Industries to announce the closure of two factories last week, including one in Tulsa. More than 165 people will be laid off in Tulsa by November after current orders are fulfilled, parent company Otter Tail Corp. said.
A report for the American Wind Energy Association said up to 37,000 jobs could be lost nationwide if the production tax credit isn't renewed.
We certainly have the wind market to support moving to 20 percent. The wind resource is there. It would be a matter of making sure the utilities are comfortable with managing that much wind on their system.
Wind development specialist for the state Commerce Department