Wind Energy Finds Salvation

The extension of wind energy tax credits was included in budget legislation to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”

The extension of the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), and Investment Tax Credits for community and offshore projects, will allow continued growth of the energy source, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

Electricity wind projects under construction by the end of 2013 can take the tax credit of $0.022 per kilowatt-hour over the first ten years of their production service. This differs from previous PTCs that required projects to be in production by the end of the credit’s specified term. The new language effectively loosens the timeline in which to benefit from the credit. 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.

Wind set a new record in 2012 by installing 44 percent of all new electrical generating capacity in America, according to the Energy Information Administration, leading the electric sector compared with 30 percent for natural gas, and lesser amounts for coal and other sources.

America’s wind energy workers have been living under threat of the PTC’s expiration for over a year and layoffs had already begun, as companies idled factories because of a lack of orders for 2013. In the closing days of 2012, the 2,000 companies that belong to AWEA sent delegations to Capitol Hill repeatedly, invited Members of Congress on tours of wind farms and factories, and delivered hundreds of thousands of letters from constituents.

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