What’s the future of wind energy? With the United States wind energy tax credit potentially expiring at the end of the year, and slow growth around the rest of the world, Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas now plans to cut 1,400 jobs before the year ends. The decision follows 2,300 jobs eliminated earlier this year.

The job losses include some in the U.S. Ninety workers at a plant in Colorado lost their jobs last week, and 30 more followed this week. A research center in Houston will also be closed. In January, Vestas stated it would cut 1,600 jobs in the U.S. if the production tax credit (PTC) expired at the end of the year. While President Obama supports extending the credit, Mitt Romney does not.

Vestas is facing pressures in other parts of the world, as renewable energy subsidies are threatened, and technical problems in China have slowed growth there. Though wind is cheaper than solar power, it’s still more expensive than coal or natural gas, and natural gas prices are continuing to slow.

Even if the wind tax credit is extended, the current uncertainty is hurting the industry. Projects take years to build and significant financing, and this dip will have lasting repercussions. It’s a sad step in progress toward clean energy. Right now, the U.S. has about 50,000 megawatts of wind energy — more than 20 percent of all wind power in the world. But it can go much farther. Experts have estimated that the potential for wind power in America can generate 16 times more power than all residents consume.

Main photo credit: Vestas