Offering up a happy New Year for the beleaguered alternative energy industry, Congress last week approved a one-year extension furthering the wind power production tax credit, or PTC.
Allotting 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour produced, the energy credit covers projects completed in 2013. The previous deadline ran until the end of 2012.
Hotly debated, the credit is seen by many in the industry as necessary to avoid a flattening of demand for wind power, subsidized since 1992.
Without the credit, wind installations would likely have fallen off in 2013, with a resultant loss of up to 37,000 jobs, according to some industry estimates.
In a statement released by Brighton employer Vestas Blades, the company praised the move as a bipartisan show of support for the industry.
“Vestas is pleased that the White House and Congress have agreed to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for 2013. The PTC has always enjoyed strong bipartisan support, and Vestas commends the President and Congress for confirming their commitment to a balanced, clean-energy portfolio,” wrote Andrew Longeteig, Head of External Communications for Vestas, North America.
”Vestas believes strongly in the U.S. wind industry, and has made significant investments in the region through new manufacturing facilities in recent years. These investments contribute to creating the U.S. industrial base the PTC extension helps to sustain. The short-term PTC extension is critical to ensure projects move forward and orders are placed that will support U.S. manufacturing and the domestic supply chain.”
Also lauding the decision was Robert Smith, of the Brighton Economic Development Corporation, long a sponsor of the effort to extend the PTC.
“We’re thrilled the Production Tax Credit (PTC) was extended as part of the “Fiscal Cliff” deal struck by Congress over New Years,” Smith said. “The Brighton EDC’s Board, our Executive Committee and the Brighton City Council worked hard to see the PTC extended.”
Smith sees the extension as a boon to wind projects in the U.S., but also as just one step towards pushing the extension date further for needed stability in the wind industry.
“What this means is wind production facilities beginning construction in the U.S. before December 31 will be eligible for the same tax credit that has been leveling the energy production playing field years,” Smith explained. “The value of the tax credit can be substantial and often determines a “go/no go” decision for American production facilities. We are going to enjoy this great news for a brief time and then we will get back to work on extending the timeframe.”
Contact Staff Writer Gene Sears at firstname.lastname@example.org.