Congress extends wind energy tax credit

The U.S. wind power industry heaved a collective sigh of relief Jan. 1 when it was announced that Congress had included a long-sought extension of wind energy tax credits in the so-called “fiscal cliff” bill that has passed both houses of Congress and now moves to President Obama for his near-certain signature.

“America’s 75,000 workers in wind energy are celebrating tonight over the continuation of policies expected to save up to 37,000 jobs and create far more over time, and to revive business at nearly 500 manufacturing facilities across the country,” said the American Wind Energy Association, which lobbied intensively for the extension. “The extension of the wind energy Production Tax Credit, and Investment Tax Credits for community and offshore projects, will allow continued growth of the energy source that installed the most new electrical generating capacity in America last year, with factories or wind farms in all 50 states.”

The version included in the Jan. 1 deal would cover all wind projects that start construction in 2013. Companies that manufacture wind turbines and install them sought that definition to allow for the 18-24 months it takes to develop a new wind farm.

Leaders of the Senate Finance Committee included that version in a “tax extenders” package they assembled last August, which made it into the overall fiscal cliff deal that passed the Senate early on the morning of Jan. 1 and by the House later that night. “The bill is expected to be swiftly signed into law by President Obama, who consistently supported the wind energy tax credits throughout the process,” said the AWEA.

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