Backers of the wind energy industry, including Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, have been pushing for a while for Congress to renew the wind-industry production tax credit, which is due to expire by the end of 2012.
They continued to do so Monday at the WINDPOWER 2012 Conference & Exhibition in Atlanta, which Brownback is attending. Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, was among advocates who spoke to reporters on a conference call this morning from the event.
The credit was meant to help bring down the cost of wind power to make it more competitive with other forms of energy, and groups like the AWEA say the industry needs more time to grow before the credit goes away.
Bode expressed confidence Monday that the credit would be renewed, largely thanks to the diversity of its backers (Brownback and President Barack Obama are on the same page on this, if that tells you anything).
However, it’s already June, and some on the conference call noted that Congress might not make much progress on the issue until the lame-duck session following November’s election. If that happens, Bode said, a one-year renewal would be of little use.
That’s because the credit has to be in place when a project is complete in order to be used. It typically takes more than a year to move from launching a wind project to completing it, Bode says.
“If it’s done in December, there really won’t be that much activity at all, because there’s an 18-month lead time,” she says. “People need to know.”
Many in Kansas are closely watching this issue. The state is home to a growing number of wind farms and manufacturing plants tied to the industry, including a Siemens Corp. turbine nacelle factory in Hutchinson and a planned Tindall Corp. facility in Newton. At Tindall, Chris Palumbo, vice president for business development, previously told the WBJ that an expiration of the credit would have an impact on manufacturers, though his company is focusing on an international market.
Sen. Jerry Moran is among those in Congress pushing for renewal, while Rep. Mike Pompeo, of Wichita, is taking an opposite track. Pompeo advocates for repealing all energy tax credits to allow energy sources to demonstrate their value on the open market, without government interference.”
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