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Bipartisan US Senate bill would extend wind tax credits by two years

Seven US Republican and Democratic senators on Thursday introduced a bill that would extend for two years the federal production tax credit for wind energy that is set to expire at the end of 2012.

“Congress should renew the wind energy tax credit to develop clean energy alternatives and good paying jobs,” Iowa’s Charles Grassley, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement.

“Tax relief has succeeded in developing this clean, renewable and innovative energy source and it ought to be continued with the degree of certainty that encourages continued investment,” he said.

The bill also would extend renewable energy tax credits for biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash, hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic power by one year to January 1, 2015.

Democrats joining Grassley in sponsoring the bill are Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Ron Wyden of Oregon. Republicans co-sponsoring the bill, dubbed the “American Energy and Job Promotion Act” were Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Dean Heller of Nevada.

“I believe in an all-of-the-above approach to America’s energy challenges, Brown said, adding that extending the tax credit will help “make sure that we continue to diversify our energy supplies over the long term.”

Grassley shepherded the first wind production tax credit through Congress in 1992 as a way to help establish wind energy as an alternative to coal-fired and nuclear energy.

The US wind industry now a $20-billion business and employs about 75,000. There are about 400 manufacturing facilities today, compared with 30 in 2004.