US wind tax credit likely to survive in emerging "cliff" deal

WASHINGTON Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:25pm EST

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WASHINGTON Dec 31 (Reuters) - A tax credit that provides incentives to produce wind energy, a financial lifeline for the wind power industry, will likely be extended if Congress approves a tentative deal between Senate Democrats and Republicans to avert the "fiscal cliff."

President Barack Obama said on Monday that a deal with Congress to stop a range of spending cuts and tax increases was "within sight," although not yet finalized.

According to the sources close to the 11th-hour negotiations, the deal would include a one-year extension for a tax credit to support the production of wind energy, which was set to expire at year-end without an extension by Congress.

The American Wind Energy Association, a lobbying group, had said 37,000 jobs would be lost in the first quarter of 2013 unless the federal tax credit is extended.

The fate of the credit, which has spurred the expansion of wind farms and helped boost wind turbine manufacturing, has been uncertain ever since it was enacted as part of the 1992 Energy Policy Act.

The measure has been extended four times and allowed to sunset three times, contributing to a boom-bust cycle for wind energy production, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

U.S. wind farms installed a record number of turbines in 2012 but uncertainty about the future of the tax credit has prompted recent layoffs at manufacturers like Vestas Wind Systems' operation in Colorado, Siemens in Iowa and Gamesa Wind Corp's facility in Pennsylvania.

Some wind energy companies have rushed to install wind turbines before the Dec. 31 deadline for the production tax credit.

"The president and many bipartisan members of Congress have been working all year to extend the wind tax credits, with support from clean energy advocates ranging from wind companies and the United Steelworkers to faith groups and environmental advocates," said Courtney Abrams, federal clean energy advocate for Environment America.

"But nothing has been voted on yet, and we urge Congress to act to protect the future of wind power and a cleaner environment," she added.

The House and Senate still need to approve any deal that emerges on spending and taxes before Monday's midnight deadline.

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Comments (1)
Wiegand wrote:
The only thing that will save the wind industry is corruption. I say this because over the last several years enough evidence has surfaced against the wind industry to shut down every one of their projects. At the very least a moratorium should in place until honest wind turbine research is conducted because bogus research has been produced by the wind industry for over 28 years. It is still being rigged to hide the truth, yet these projects keep getting approved.
A few months back I looked over the Environmental Impact Report produced for a Wyoming wind project. It was one of the worst such reports I have even read. The writers said they couldn’t comment about certain impacts to eagles and other raptors because the property owners would not give them access. A 12 year old could see through right through it, let alone a judge. The project was approved.

The other day I looked a report for the Searchlight Wind Resource area on BLM land in the Mojave Desert. To me the comments about the golden eagle living there are a clear case of silent fraud. Here is what was said………”Golden eagle nests were restricted to cliffs and were located at least 4 miles from the project boundary with 2 of the nests being approximately 10 miles from the project boundary. Based on data from Idaho, golden eagle home range size should not overlap with the project boundary.”

The statement that the project should not overlap with the home range of the golden eagle is in my opinion criminal. The dense pocket of eagles living along the food rich Snake River in Idaho has nothing to do with the eagles living in the barren Mojave region. It is well established that an eagle’s home range for this desert region is far greater and requires at least 50-100 square miles. A few miles is nothing to an eagle so the food sources and wind currents will bring them right to this planned wind project where they will be killed. The project will not only kill the local eagles, but it will be killing dispersing eagles and migrating eagles.
The history of wind turbines slaughtering golden eagles is well known, yet for a dollar the authors choose to say something else. This is the way it is and the industry has known it for decades……..All wind farms located in golden eagle habitat will kill eagles, there are no exceptions. Here is another truth. The wind industry is systematically killing off the golden eagle population across America.
What I just wrote about is typical of the industry’s deception that has been going on for decades. I also should not have to be the one to expose this. But as is has always been with this industry virtually every wind industry document I have ever read has been written with deception or has had research methodology designed to hide the truth. I could provide dozens and dozens of similar examples from all over the country.

Surely enough questions have been raised about the wind industry and enough whooping cranes have disappeared to warrant Congressional hearings about all this. I would love to attend so I could expose anyone willing to stand up and lie about the impacts to golden eagles or to justify the wind industry’s ridiculous studies. But it will not happen because the “corruption” will avoid this arena.

So instead of hearings to expose the truth, we have a number of members in Congress trying to push through a multibillion dollar gift from taxpayers in the form of tax credits.

Congress really needs to pay attention because they may have the power and want to please their friends but it is really the taxpayers money. These taxpayers are now more educated and they are realizing that the “Green” image promoted by the wind industry has been a complete fabrication. So if Congress is willing to look past all the lies and give this industry new tax credits, it will send a message of corruption that will resonate for centuries. Their vote will always be linked to the whooping cranes and other species that disappeared from our skies.
All for just a token amount of energy, which is one of this industry’s other lies.

If the wind industry is not stopped there will be dozens of species that will become extinct in the next several decades. A few weeks ago a population with only 10 known nesting pairs had two Hen Harriers killed by turbines in England. Thankfully it did not happen in America because you would have never heard about it.

Dec 31, 2012 7:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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