Tax Credit Extension Means Fair Weather for Wind Industry
The answer that’s been blowin’ in the wind for one industry isn’t from Bob Dylan, but from Congress. Lawmakers recently extended a critical tax credit that has wind energy companies breathing a sigh of relief.
The wind industry has reason to celebrate: Companies are saying the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credits for community and offshore projects will save tens of thousands of domestic jobs and serve as a foundation for more clean energy projects, according to an article from Reuters.
Jobs impact: By passing the extension of wind energy tax credits as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal, nearly 40,000 jobs have seen saved, with more jobs expected to pop up as projects continue and expand, according to Reuters and a release from the American Wind Energy Association.
The wind industry has seen trouble despite its energy success—according to AWEA, wind accounted for 44 percent of all new electrical generating capacity, compared to just 30 percent for natural gas and even less for coal or other sources. With a question mark over the tax credit extension, the industry saw layoffs and idle factories as projects dwindled into 2013, with the future unclear.
The outcry: As the industry faced hemming and hawing in Congress, AWEA took action, taking to video outlets to post stories from wind-industry workers and swarming Capitol Hill with advocates, all the while delivering constituent letters urging extension of the credit. (Associations Now’s Katie Bascuas highlighted the video advocacy effort in her blog post today.) A sample video, below, from the AWEA website:
Even though the credit deeply divided Republicans in Congress, in the end, the wind industry won out.
The details of the credit: The credit, which now goes to President Obama for his expected signature, applies to all projects that start construction this year, even if they extend past a one-year timeline. That provision was imperative, according to the AWEA, as many projects continue over 18-24 months.
The extension provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour (KWh) for electricity produced by utility-scale wind turbines. That can add up to a credit of $13,200 for the average group of turbines, which produce as much as 600,000 kWh annually.
What do you think this means for the wind industry? How has your association rallied behind a common cause?