The production tax credits for wind energy utilities are set to expire at the end of this year, but a Democratic push in the House could extend them once again.
Congressmen are introducing a renewable energy package to the tune of $17.5 billion this month, and hope to fund it by taking away the tax breaks now enjoyed by big oil and gas companies. Republicans in the Senate, and President George Bush, have consistently resisted this action.
The legislation would not only extend the credits for wind power, but also provide tax breaks for solar hot water heaters and energyefficient buildings.
If passed, the bill would extend the credits for wind energy projects another three years, through Dec. 31, 2011. Those investing in wind power, geothermal, and other renewable forms of energy would qualify.
According to media reports, the total amount of tax credits that could be earned would be limited to 35 percent of the cost of a facility. This would apply to projects that are operating by the end of 2010, and the tax breaks would amount to an estimated $6.5 billion over a decade.
Extending the production tax credits beyond this year could pave the way for Virginia’s first wind utility, proposed by Highland New Wind Development, to qualify. The company has stated it may not be able to get its 39-megawatt project up and running by the end of this year, and predicts construction would be more likely in 2009.
– Anne Adams
14 February 2008
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