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Wind energy industry turns to Congress for renewal of tax credit

Wind industry backers want Congress to renew a tax credit for electricity production from wind farms. A postelection deal could come from a lame-duck session of Congress, but detractors are fighting against a renewal.
by Paul Monies Published: November 13, 2012

The bipartisan Governors Wind Energy Coalition sent a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday again urging an extension. The coalition includes Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, but the letter came from its leaders, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.

“The United States has some of the best wind resources in the world, but the lack of policy stability hinders the nation's ability to develop them fully,” the letter stated. “Please support our states in the pursuit of economic strength, energy diversity and consumer savings by acting quickly to extend the (production tax credit).”

The American Energy Alliance, which wants to let the credit expire, says the wind energy industry has reached maturity and no longer needs a government handout. The alliance says state renewable energy standards and goals, not the tax credit, have driven much recent expansion in wind production.

The production tax credit for wind energy has been around since 1992, but it's never been permanent. Congress let the credit expire three times in the past 20 years before renewing and extending it.

McNabb said new interstate transmission lines are a key part of the next step for Oklahoma's wind industry. Planned transmission projects include Clean Line Energy Partners' Plains and Eastern line, which would take electricity from wind farms in the Panhandle to Tennessee using high-voltage, direct-current lines.

“What that will allow is the export to other states,” McNabb said. “We're essentially meeting the needs in the state. Now it's a matter of the infrastructure catching up.”

by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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