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Production Tax Credit extension boosts wind power industry

The U.S. wind industry breathed a huge sigh of relief on Jan. 1 when Congress extended the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) through 2013. The extension means new wind projects must begin construction in 2013 in order to receive the PTC. Previously, facilities claiming the PTC were required to have their wind projects placed in service before the deadline.

The change to “start construction” in 2013 versus “placed in service” by Dec. 31, 2013 increases the impact of the extension beyond 2013 and provides additional time for construction of new wind energy projects and other qualifying renewable energy projects. The legislation also allows a 30 percent investment tax credit up front for community wind projects as an alternative to 10 years of the 2.2-cents-per-kW credit.

Many wind projects nationwide have been on hold, including several in Minnesota that had earned state regulatory approval. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) had been lobbying for months to extend the tax credit. Half of the American jobs in wind energy—37,000 out of 75,000—and hundreds of U.S. factories in the supply chain would have been impacted had the PTC been allowed to expire, according AWEA. For more on the PTC extension, see the AWEA news release.