Spain's Iberdrola commits $8 billion to renewable energy in U.S.

Company sees the U.S. as fertile ground for wind and solar energy despite policy uncertainty.

Correction at 9:40 a.m. PDT: The spelling of the company's name and oil developer T. Boone Pickens have been fixed.

How much potential is there for wind and solar energy in the United States?

Big enough for Spanish energy developer Iberdrola to commit to investing $8 billion in the U.S. over the next two years.

The company's president Ignacio Galán set the target Sunday at a conference in Houston, where he said the company intends to double its electricity capacity, mainly through wind, in the U.S. which is now at nearly 2.4 gigawatts. Iberdrola's target is to have 15 percent market share by 2010, the company said in a statement.

Expect to see more of these, if Iberdrola meets its wind investment goals. GE

Wind power is booming in the United States because it is cost-competitive with power generation from fossil fuels.

Last week, oil developer T. Boone Pickens ordered the first wind turbines for what will be the largest wind farm in Texas, the Pampa Wind Project, which is estimated to cost $2 billion.

Although there is great enthusiasm for wind power in the U.S., the industry is currently hampered by delays and policy uncertainly .

An investment tax credit that gives renewable energy project developers a 30 percent tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year. Several attempts to renew it have failed, which clean tech investors and companies say is stalling business in the U.S.

Wind turbines are also in short supply , due to the high demand, which is pushing out the time schedules for large wind projects.

In its coverage of the Iberdrola announcement, Forbes.com noted that the company does not own transmission networks in the U.S. but doesn't not see that as a barrier.

"We are the No .2 operator in the United States," an Iberdrola representative told Forbes.com on Monday. "So I wouldn't say that we were concerned."

 

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