Wind Tax Credit Spared in ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Deal

JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

A wind turbine rises above field in Burgenland near the Austrian-Slovakian border

Just a week after Texas hit another record for wind power generation, the wind industry and the green energy sector are breathing a huge sigh of relief today after Congress extended a tax credit that was set to expire.

The Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC) has been around since 1992, and gives producers of wind, geothermal and some biomass projects a credit for each kilowatt hour of energy they make during their first ten years of operation. The one-year extension of the credit is expected to cost $12.1 billion over ten years.

As Politico reports, the extension of the credit actually improves it for the wind industry, as it ”changes the language to allow any project that has begun construction by [the end of the year] to qualify for the PTC, rather than just projects operational by the deadline.” This makes the credit more effective this year, as it typically takes between 18 to 24 months to develop a new wind farm, according to the American Wind Energy Association. 

That group says the tax credit extension will save 37,000 jobs. In the lead up to the expiration of the credit this week, wind projects across the country were being rushed into service before the end of year, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Texas is the top producer of wind energy in the country, with more turbines installed than any other state. On Christmas Day, Texas set another record for wind power generation as a cold front blew into the Lone Star State, with over a quarter of Texas’ power coming from wind that afternoon. It was enough power for about 4.3 million Texas homes during times of average electricity use.

Congress also extended credits for residential energy efficiency improvements, plug-in vehicles, biofuels, energy-efficient new home construction, and energy efficient-appliances.

And who knows what the fate of the wind credit will be after 2013. The wind industry has advocated a gradual phase-out of the tax credit over the next nine years in order as opposed to nixing it entirely.

Comments

  • Jim Wiegand

    As I have been saying for weeks, only corruption could save the wind industry tax credit. Yesterday the corruption played its hand again and once again fleeced the American taxpayers. This is how always has been with this industry, but this time there will be a backlash that Congress has never seen before.
    Congress needs to put to rest the lies being perpetuated by this industry. They know full well these turbines are not going to save us or even begin to solve our energy needs. This Congress also knows these wind turbines will also have no impact on CO2 emissions across the world.

    This Congress is also old enough to remember one of the first big wind industry lies told to America about how these turbines were going to help us get away from Middle East oil. Preying on our Nationalistic pride, this deflective argument was highly publicized in the media to justify all the eagle deaths at Altamont Pass.

    Of course America today uses much more Middle East oil now than in 1980 and these turbines still have nothing to do with the oil imported from the Middle East.

  • Jim Wiegand

    Forgot one thing. When is Texas going to disclose all the golden eagle mortality from their turbines? It has to be more than CA because you have or had more eagles.

  • Walter Smith, Maj. USAF, ret

    Why not give a tax credit to producers of renewable energy from MSW? There are NO collateral damages as is all other renewable energy facilities such as wind and solar! Check out Plasma arc facilities.

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