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Wind Energy PTC Included In Tax Extenders Bill

Wind turbines on the Cedar Creek wind farm east of Grover, Colorado at sunset with a backdrop of stratocumulus clouds.

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster week for the wind industry across the U.S. After a production tax credit wasn’t included in an original draft of the Tax Extenders Bill. An amendment extending the credit for two years was tacked on to an April 3 draft passed by the Senate Finance Committee.

Colorado Democratic Senator Michael Bennet worked to include the amendment in the bill and was quick to laud its progress.

“The wind PTC is an economic engine in Colorado that supports thousands of jobs in our state and tens of thousands more across the country," Bennet said in a press release. “This extension will boost Colorado’s diverse energy industry and help us remain competitive in the global and changing economy.”

Movement on the wind PTC is good news for Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems, which currently employs thousands of workers in Colorado. 2013 was the second best year for company sales in the U.S. and Canada since 1981.

The wind industry — and Vestas — hit a rough patch in 2012 due to market uncertainty and issues that year with about Congress renewing the wind production tax credit. It was eventually renewed on January 3 2013 for one year.

A key provision in the now-expired 2013 tax credit is softening the blow of losing the tax credit for wind companies. It states that firms only had to begin projects in 2013, they’re allowed to finish them in the coming years.

As NPR explained:

Firms can start planning again. Since wind farms take about a year and a half to build, new ones might start coming back online in 2014. But alongside all of this up and down is a debate in Congress over whether the wind industry deserves to have a tax credit that has propped it up for two decades.

That debate will likely continue in the months ahead as the Tax Extenders Bill moves to the Senate floor for debate. A vote has not yet been scheduled, and the bill also requires approval by the U.S. House to become law.

According to Marketwatch, final action by both Houses may not come together until after the Nov. 4 election.

Editor's note: The quote that was originally included from Sen. Michael Bennet has been updated.

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