“It's unlikely that many people will start new developments in 2013,” Wolfgram said. “But the other side is that many companies have developments that they have time invested in and they're going to all try to turn those into power contracts or other opportunities to sell from those sites and get them into construction. That's going to be a challenge, but this is good news. It's a help, but it's not a long-term solution.”
Extension of the wind production tax credit is expected to cost $445 million in fiscal year 2014 and $882 million in 2015, according to Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation. The 10-year cost of the extension is expected to be almost $12.2 billion.
The tax credit spurs annual private investment in wind energy of about $15.5 billion, said Ellen Carey, spokeswoman for the Washington-based American Wind Energy Association.
After spending much of 2012 asking Congress for a long-term extension of the tax credit, the association said in December a phaseout could give the industry some certainty. The American Wind Energy Association proposed continuing the credit at 100 percent for 2013. It would then fall by 10 percentage points each year until it hits 60 percent in 2017 and 2018. The credit would end in 2019.
While it didn't get a long-term renewal or a phaseout, association officials praised Tuesday's deal.
“Now we can continue to provide America with more clean, affordable, homegrown energy, and keep growing a new manufacturing sector that's now making nearly 70 percent of our wind turbines in the U.S.A.,” Rob Gramlich, the association's interim CEO, said in a statement.
Brian Alford, spokesman for Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., said the utility was pleased to see the tax credit renewed. OG&E owns or purchases power from eight wind farms and has more than 800 megawatts of wind capacity.
“Wind energy has been and continues to be an important part of our state's energy industry,” Alford said. “This will help ensure long-term viability of wind.”
Alford said OG&E has no immediate plans to add wind capacity to its generating portfolio.
“It's about making the right decisions for our customers,” Alford said.