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United States

US industry optimistic on PTC extension

UNITED STATES: The wind energy industry is optimistic a two-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) will pass when the measure comes up for a vote in the US Senate, said American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Tom Keirnan.

AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan
AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan

Speaking at the association's annual conference in Las Vegas, Kiernan said: "We think it is quite probable that it will come up next week. And our sense of the support in the Senate is that it is quite strong.

"We've got a lot of Democratic champions, we have some important Republican champions, so we think we've got well over the minimum 60 votes needed to get it passed."

The bill would extend the PTC to projects that start construction before the end of 2015. It also extends the ability of developers to opt for a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) instead of the PTC, which is particularly important to the country's fledgling offshore wind sector. Both credits expired at the end of 2013.

An extension would also have to pass the less-PTC-friendly House of Representatives before becoming law. Kiernan says the industry is in talks with House leaders and expects it could act as soon as this summer.

Most analysts speaking at a session on the future US wind market expect to see the PTC revived. "Our base case forecast does assume one more PTC extension later this year or early next year ," said Andy Lubershane, senior analyst at IHS Emerging Energy Research.

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