U.S. wind farms now generate more electricity than any other nation in the world and are on track to expand by more than 45% this year, but according to Washington, D.C.-based American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the expiration of the federal production tax credit (PTC) less than five months from now threatens this progress.

“The U.S. is now the world’s largest wind energy producer, with wind development sparking job creation and economic opportunity in a troubled economy,” says Randall Swisher, AWEA executive director. “But the current figures hide a dire reality: the pipeline of investment for 2009 has been on hold for months, with escalating risks and costs for the industry, because of the uncertainty about the production tax credit.”

According to AWEA, under the best-case scenario for the industry, Congress will move quickly in September to extend the credit and the pressure will be eased for immediate project completion while reopening the pipeline for 2009. Under that scenario, AWEA projects at least 7,500MW of new capacity to be added in 2008.