Pattern Energy's Mike Garland on Wind Energy Subsidies
The uncertainties facing executives are considerable heading into 2014. Pattern Energy’s CEO sees wind-only energy becoming more efficient and powering a greater percentage of the U.S.
Your company is the first wind-only energy company to go public. How do you plan to usethe $352 million you raised?
We’re using it for three purposes. The first is to reserve cash to do acquisitions. The second is to acquire the eight projects that are in a portfolio that the company manages. And then the third area is for a little bit of working capital.
How dependent are you on the government for subsidies?
Almost every energy resource in the United States has subsidies. And so this industry has had good subsidies for a while. It is trending off and will continue to do so over the next few years. Our company believes that we can survive and do quite well without it.
Some critics say wind power is inefficient and isn’t scalable.
There are a lot of new studies that counteract that position. Right now, if you look over the past 20 years, wind power has had great parity with everything else in terms of cost. If you look at just over the last four years, we get 50 percent to 100 percent more wind energy from the current technology used in the industry.
Some Republicans want to wind down a wind subsidy up for renewal in early 2014.
I’m not worried. I think the subsidy is the right thing for the industry and for the country because we have about 500 manufacturing facilities supporting wind right now. And it’d be an awful thing to shut those down because there wasn’t continued support.
In 2012, wind-only generated about 4 percent of total U.S. electricity generation. When do we get to 8 percent?
We think it’s only three to five years, maybe six years.