Senate Finance Committee adds PTC extension to bill
By From the Denver Business Journal
A tax cut crucial to the wind energy industry is making one more run at an extension.
A federal production tax credit for wind energy that’s set to expire at the end of this year could get a one-year reprieve, if its inclusion by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in a bill covering about $205 billion worth of tax breaks is approved by the wider Congress.
Passage of the extension is far from certain, given Congress’ lengthy upcoming recess and the fact that the presidential candidates are split on the matter.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden serves on the finance committee and along with other members of the Senate, has been a vocal supporter of the extension of a Production Tax Credit.
“We’ll continue to push every way we know how until the tax credit is extended,” said Michael Bennet, D-Colo. “It is an economic driver that’s critical to thousands of jobs in Colorado and tens of thousands of jobs across the country. At the same time it is strengthening and diversifying our energy profile.”
The tax credit saves wind farms $22 for ever megawatt of power generated during the farm’s first 10 years of existence.
Congress leaves at the end of this week for a five-week recess. When they return, they’ll be in session for only three weeks before the Nov. 6 election.
Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems has said it would lay off employees at its manufacturing plants if the credit is not extended. While its North American headquarters are in Portland, the company has four factories in Colorado that collectively employ about 1,700 people.
The tax credit has some bipartisan support in Congress, but also has become an election issue.
President Barack Obama has supported extending the tax credit. But his opponent, Mitt Romney, favors letting it expire.
“He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits,” Romney spokesman Shawn McCoy told the Des Moines Register newspaper.
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