Tax break extension breathes new life into US wind power
About half of the sector's 75,000 jobs in the United States had been expected to disappear if the wind production tax credit had been allowed to expire at the end of last year, according to trade group the American Wind Energy Association.
"There will be a lot of activity that wouldn't have otherwise occurred," said David Burton, an attorney with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld who works on the tax aspects of financing renewable energy projects.
The extension and several other clean energy tax breaks came out of a Senate Finance Committee "tax extenders" bill in August and was included, along with a host of other business tax incentives that industries had been pushing for all year, in the deal to avert the "fiscal cliff."
The tax break provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity produced by utility-scale wind turbines, helping it compete with power generated from cheap fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.
Importantly, the credit was changed to allow project developers to claim it when they begin construction, rather than only once turbines are up and running. It addresses the stop-start nature of the tax credit and takes into consideration the two years it can take to develop a wind farm.
"That's a huge difference," said Lance
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