- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Congress’ tax bill would cause mad scramble for new wind energy projects

A new tax extenders bill released early Wednesday morning is bound to create a frenzy among wind energy firms to get steel in the ground and begin new construction before the end of 2016.

The wind production tax credit under the tax extenders bill expires but with some important catches that allow wind turbines to receive the subsidy even if they aren’t up and running by the end of next year.

The extenders bill emerged as part of negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders on a must-pass bill to fund the government. Lawmakers late Tuesday night had said the wind credits were extended to five years, but the extenders bill released by the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees shows the deal to be a one-year extension with the construction clause allowing benefits to last well beyond 2016.

“The provision extends the production tax credit for certain renewable sources of electricity to facilities for which construction has commenced by the end of 2016,” a committee summary reads.

The so-called “commence construction” clause has become a familiar method of extending the wind credit in recent years. While it does only extend it for a year, it allows wind companies to be eligible to receive the credit even though a wind turbine may not be fully constructed. Some advocates say in many ways the clause is just as good as a multi-year credit extension.

The tax credit bill also includes scores of other energy subsidies for electric and hydrogen cars, and for energy-efficient homes. It also permanently extends a research and development tax credit and provides subsidies for coal produced on Indian lands.

Green fuels also get a tax credit through extension of expired subsidies for biodiesel and other advanced biofuels.