Wind turbine photo from Shutterstock

United States energy companies are clamoring to install last minute wind turbines before the federal tax credit incentive expires at the stroke of midnight tonight. The government incentive subsidy awards roughly 2.2 cents for every kilowatt hour produced over the next ten years, and it has spurred the construction of new wind power plants across the states.

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Thanks to the federal tax credit incentive, wind power has grown exponentially in 2012- from just 1.5 gigawatts of power across the country to an impressive 13.5 gigawatts by the end of this year. With 12 gigawatts of wind power sources installed this year, the renewable energy source skyrocketed past natural gas.

With the incentive, each large turbine is awarded around $1 million in government subsidy money over ten years. But the incentive is set to expires at midnight tonight, to the chagrin of renewable energy supporters. Without the subsidy, green energy enthusiasts fear that the rate of wind power construction will plummet next year, causing a rise in the use of traditional fossil fuels.

Although it is still unclear whether the incentive will be extended into 2012, The American Wind Energy Association is hopeful for a short extension to finish projects that are in the works. With that extension, the rise of wind power could be sustained in 2013, ensuring the rise of renewable energy for another year.