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Wind power backers are also dealing with another major challenge: the recent ramping up of natural gas production in Pennsylvania, North Dakota and elsewhere. The rise of hydraulic fracturing has opened up huge amounts of gas in shale deposits that were previously inaccessible. The boom has dramatically increased supplies and pushed prices down, and some now see natural gas, not renewables, as the future of U.S. energy.

But Mr. Glotfelty and others believe dark clouds could be on the horizon, and the natural gas business could soon bottom out, leaving wind power in a position to take its place.

“I think there’s going to be a day of reckoning when we figure out if, in fact, all of this natural gas is available,” or if reports of a 100-year domestic supply have been greatly exaggerated, he said.