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Giant wind turbines near the Interstate 10 freeway are powered by strong prevailing winds on May 13, 2008 near Palm Springs. A US government report released this week concludes that wind energy could generate 20 percent of the electricity produced in the US by 2030, as much as is currently provided by nuclear reactors. Although wind energy constitutes only about 1 percent of the electricity of the nation, wind energy is experiencing a growth spurt with an increase of 45 percent jump last year. The report envisions more than 75,000 new wind turbines, many of them bigger than those in use today, and many of them in offshore waters to increase production from the current 16,000 megawatts of power to 300,000 megawatts. The report does not predict that such growth will actually occur but rather that it is possible.
A federal tax credit that's helped prop up the wind power industry is set to expire at the end of the year.
The $1 billion tax break has been criticized by republicans, including presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.
They say too much money's been spent on helping an industry that has yet to prove itself. The debate has become an issue in the presidential campaign.
A Martinez talks to Coral Davenport, reporter covering energy and the environment for National Journal