U.S. Wind Industry Lobbies to Maintain Credits

Legislation has been introduced in both houses of the U.S. government to extend production tax credits for wind energy.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-03-23 <SolarAccess.com> Legislation has been introduced in both houses of the U.S. government to extend production tax credits for wind energy. Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Jim Jeffords of Vermont, along with Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, have introduced legislation (S. 530) to extend the credit for five years. The bill complements similar legislation (H.R. 876) introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this month. The American Wind Energy Association is preparing to wage a significant lobby campaign to extend the federal production tax credit, which is due to expire on December 31. The PTC provides a tax credit of 1.5 cents per kWh (adjusted for inflation) for electricity generated from wind turbines. The provision was first created as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. It was extended for the first and only time in 1999, at which time the PTC attracted support from two-thirds of the House tax committee and half of the entire House of Representatives. The wind industry will launch a week-long blitz on Capitol Hill in Washington in June, says AWEA’s Jaime Steve. “The bill is called the BREEZE Act, and I hope it’ll be a breeze to get it passed into law,” says Grassley, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. “The wind is a clean, abundant natural resource. Harnessing its power makes perfect sense, especially in times of energy shortages and soaring prices. Wind energy is a breath of fresh air.” Other cosponsors of the legislation 530 include Senate Energy Committee Chair Frank Murkowski of Alaska, John Breaux, Gordon Smith, Byron Dorgan, Dianne Feinstein, Larry Craig, Patty Murray, Tim Johnson and Chuck Schumer. “The wind industry is grateful for the support of Senator Grassley, who has championed the PTC since its inception in 1992,” adds Jon Chase of AWEA. “The introduction of this bill is a crucial step towards extending the wind PTC.” In the House, a bipartisan group of members from the Ways & Means Committee joined to back H.R. 876. The bill was introduced by Rep. Mark Foley of Florida, along with Jerry Weller, Bob Matsui and Karen Thurman. “The wind industry greatly appreciates the strong bipartisan leadership of Representatives Foley, Weller, Matsui and Thurman in offering this legislation,” says Steve. “This is a vital part of building a broad base of support for extending the credit.” Total global wind capacity is 17,000 MW, and wind energy is one the fastest growing sources of energy with annual growth rates of 25 to 35 percent, says AWEA. Last year, 3,500 MW of new capacity was installed around the world, of which only 53 MW was installed in the U.S. AWEA expects 2,000 MW of new wind capacity to be installed in the U.S. this year.

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