As part of the “fiscal cliff” resolution that was signed into action by President Obama moments before the deadline last night, the Production Tax Credit for wind energy was extended through 2013 ensuring the largest wind power subsidy will be in place for at least another year.
One change in the new agreement is especially encouraging for the US wind generators. With the updated PTC, projects that will be started in 2013 are eligible for the 2.2 cents per kWh subsidy, not just projects that begin generating electricity as was the case with the previous tax credit. This will further encourage wind energy development because often times it takes many years to complete a project.
According to research by the American Wind Energy Association, the extension of the PTC saved 37,000 US jobs in the wind industry, a sector of the economy that was going through particularly blustery times when the extension of the PTC was in doubt. Vestas, the largest turbine manufacturer in the world, laid off a large portion of their US employees in preparation for slowed growth in the US wind energy industry when the expiration of the PTC looked eminent.
Hopefully the extension of the PTC will continue to grow the wind energy industry , ensuring domestically generated, clean, renewable energy for at least another 12 months.