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Largest Kansas wind farm to go online within days

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm •  Published: December 28, 2012

Despite those economic numbers, wind energy's future is unclear because of the low price of natural gas — an economical option to generate electricity — and the end of the Production Tax Credit at the end of the month.

Many states, including Kansas and Missouri, have requirements that electric utilities use renewable energy to meet part of their electricity demand. The tax credit, which is used to reduce the price of renewable energy to help make it more competitive, also has provided a boost for the industry.

Graham said it will probably take another six years for the cost of wind turbines to decline enough, and their efficiency to increase enough, to allow wind energy to be competitive without the tax credit.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and the state's two U.S. senators support renewing the tax credit.

The American Wind Energy Association, a trade group, has proposed a six-year phase-out, but one of the tax credit's toughest opponents, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., said that plan doesn't pass the laugh test.

The wind industry is comprised of multi-billion dollar companies that can stand on their own two feet, he said, adding that he would consider a phase-out only if it quickly moved the industry off the taxpayer dole.

"Without a real phase-out on the table, the only remaining solution is for the wind PTC (tax credit) to expire as scheduled at the end of the year," he said in a statement.