There has been a lot of tension and uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff drama going through the House and Senate in the U.S., but in case you missed it, there’s also is some slightly under-the-radar good news for renewable energy. Both groups have passed a deal that includes a one-year extension of the production tax credit for wind energy.
The one-year extension allows facilities under construction before January 1, 2014 to be eligible for the 10-year, 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour credit. The previous law that expired at the end of 2012 required turbines to be in operation by the deadline, so the change will allow developers to develop more wind projects with the 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 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, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.
She added that half of the 75,000 people working in the wind energy industry in the United States would have had their jobs at risk if the deal was not extended. The end of 2012 led to a rush of getting projects up and running for fear the subsidy would vanish. During the 2012 campaign, Iowa and Colorado were particularly concerned about the subsidy, where many manufacturers of turbine towers and blades have set up shop. Orders began slowing down for 2013, and thousands of people were laid off.
The fiscal cliff deal has also extended the investment tax credit for offshore wind development, which is available to projects that begin construction before the end of 2013. With all this continued opportunity available to help get projects moving, it will be interesting to see how quickly these projects unfold and how many jobs become available in the clean energy sector as a result. Maybe then leaders on both sides of the political ticket, but especially Republicans, will begin seeing the benefit and taking renewable energy a lot more seriously.
Image CC licensed by Loozrboy: Wind turbine assembly