Wind-energy industry in US gets lift in ‘fiscal cliff’ bill

2 Jan 2013

As part of its measures to avoid a US ‘fiscal cliff’ economic crisis, the US Congress has voted to extend tax credits on wind energy for another year in a move that could avert up to 37,000 job losses for the wind-energy sector.

Last night, the House of Representatives voted to approve a Senate bill to avert huge tax increases and spending cuts in the US, thus preventing a US fiscal crisis.

The final bill included an extension of a wind-energy production tax credit (PTC), and investment tax credits that are aimed at community and offshore-owned wind-energy projects.

It means that any wind-farm project that undergoes construction in 2013 will qualify for the tax breaks. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said wind turbine manufacturers and installers had sought this new definition to allow for the timeframe of 18 to 24 months that it takes to build a new wind farm.

The AWEA said the continuation of the tax policies are expected to save up to 37,000 jobs and to revive businesses at almost 500 wind-turbine manufacturing facilities across the US.

The tax credit for the US wind-energy industry had been set to expire at the end of 2012, thus putting a sector that supports about 75,000 jobs into jeopardy.

The one-year extension means that energy produced at wind farms is eligible for a 2.2-cent per kilowatt hour tax credit.

“On behalf of all the people working in wind-energy manufacturing facilities, their families, and all the communities that benefit, we thank President (Barack) Obama and all the Members of the House and Senate who had the foresight to extend this successful policy, so wind projects can continue to be developed in 2013 and 2014,” said Denise Bode, outgoing CEO of the AWEA, in a statement.

The U.S. Department of Energy has forecast that wind energy can supply 20pc of America’s electricity needs by 2030.

Wind turbine image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic