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With Tax Credit Renewed, U.S. Wind Industry Powers Up

The impending expiration of a controversial, but important, federal tax credit deflated wind power's prognosis late last year. With many companies restarting moribund projects after the credit was renewed in January, the industry is perking up.
March 27, 2013, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Wind is back, reports Diane Cardwell. The industry's steady growth over the last decade has been closely tethered to a federal tax credit that was renewed in January after facing an uncertain future.

“Deals are getting signed; people are ramping up their production facilities again,” said Peter C. Duprey, chief executive of Broadwind. “The whole industry went through either a shutdown or idling at the end of last year and are now quickly trying to gear back up again.”

"The rush to development is in large part because of Congress," explains Cardwell. "Lawmakers had allowed a popular incentive, known as the production tax credit, to lapse at the end of last year, but then renewed it in January. They also changed the requirement so that projects only have to be under construction by the end of the year to qualify, rather than fully operational, as had traditionally been the case."

“'We are now back on the treadmill trying to get as much of our portfolio qualified for the P.T.C. by the end of this year,' said Paul J. Gaynor, First Wind’s chief executive, referring to the credit. Without the renewal, he said, 'I think we would have had zero megawatts to develop.'”

"Beyond the next year or so, the industry’s future remains in doubt, given the uncertainty over whether Congress will again extend the credit as part of an 11th-hour budget agreement or take up its purpose and ultimate fate as part of a broader corporate tax overhaul," Cardwell adds.

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Published on Thursday, March 21, 2013 in The New York Times
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