The production tax credit for wind projects is scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and the credit for geothermal, hydropower, and biomass expires at the end of 2013. Industry executives are vigorously lobbying Congress to extend the credits. The best vehicle for an extension is the payroll tax cut bill currently being negotiated by a House-Senate conference committee (H.R. 3630).
At a recent press briefing, Peter Kelley, vice president for public affairs at the American Wind Energy Association, said that “the urgency of this issue calls for extending it in the first quarter of this year because later will be too late.” The next opportunity for an extension would likely be in the lame-duck session at the end of the year, but executives say that by then the industry will have abandoned projects and manufacturers will be out of business. Wind industry executives visited Congress on February 8 to ask for a one-year extension of the credit.
Executives from the National Hydropower Association, the Biomass Power Association, and the Geothermal Energy Association echo the argument as to their respective industries. Utility-scale hydropower, biomass, and geothermal projects starting today would find it nearly impossible to be completed by the end of 2013 because of the lengthy licensing and build times required. For that reason, progress on new projects beyond 2013 has largely stalled. Industry representatives are seeking an extension through 2016 (currently only solar and a few other resources are extended through 2016). Read the February 8 letter to Congress from the hydropower, biomass, and geothermal representatives here.