Recent tax credits passed through Congress for wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, bioenergy, solar energy, and tidal and wave energy, will ensure that renewables remain the focus of U.S. power generators through 2009, according to a report by Industrial Info Resources (www.industrialinfo.com). However, the research house notes that many projects will be delayed due to issues involving permitting.

Industrial Info estimates that 4,800 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy projects are currently under construction in the U.S., and an additional 149 gigawatts (GW) are in the early development stages. Of the projects scheduled to start construction in 2009, Industrial Info reports only about 29 percent are expected to move forward on time. Approximately 60 percent has been delayed and 11% has been canceled. Industrial Info estimates that about 32 percent of the project delays are due to permitting issues.

Industrial Info says the most prevalent permitting-related issues and trends associated with renewable energy projects include:
• In most cases, it takes 18 months to two years to acquire the permits necessary for construction to begin.
• Permitting offshore wind projects is a fairly new industry, because not enough wind data has been collected to support the projects. Federal regulations have hindered the growth of these programs because of the long process for acquiring the permits necessary to begin construction.
• Bird migratory routes and the protection of bats have brought forth the influx of social groups in opposition of many onshore wind projects.
• Community-Based Energy Development project permits were obtained faster, and construction started faster than usual, eliminating interference from many special interest groups.

In addition to permitting, Industrial Info sites constraints renewable energy project development such as financing, availability of electrical transmission lines, power-purchase agreements and equipment availability.

To read Industrial Info Resource’s full report, click here (registration required).