US wind power demand forecast cut for 2002
COPENHAGEN - The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said this week it had cut its forecast for installed wind turbine capacity in 2002 due to postponement of projects and lower gas prices.
The statement followed analysts\' downgrades, which reduced expectations for the U.S. wind-power market this year and next, sending shares in leading wind turbine maker, Danish Vestas , down 10 percent this week.
The U.S. is among the leading wind power markets along with Germany and Spain.
\"We have scaled down our forecast for 2002. At the beginning of the year we were hopeful that 600 to 1,000 megawatts could be put on this year, but now it looks like 400 megawatts will be put in by the end of 2002,\" an AWEA spokeswoman told Reuters by telephone.
AWEA cited a number of reasons for the lower-than-expected activity. First, some momentum was lost at the beginning of the year because a tax incentive for wind farm developers to install turbines, which expired at the end of 2001, was not extended until March.
The extension then was until the end of 2003, so some projects were postponed until next year.
\"In addition, the lower gas prices are reducing the urgency to do wind projects,\" the spokeswoman said.
For 2003, AWEA expected some 2,000 megawatts to be installed.
\"It will be at least as good as 2001 with 1,700 megawatts and probably better than that, because some of the projects that were supposed to be done this year are being moved to next year,\" she added.
The independent wind power consultancy BTM had expected the U.S. to install 1,450 megawatts in 2002 and 2,850 megawatts in 2003, not including the extension of the tax incentive, which would have made the figures even higher.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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