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Clinton proposes tax credit extension

President Bill Clinton is proposing a serious boost for government spending on wind power. In his budget package for the upcoming fiscal year, Clinton suggests a five year extension of the all important production tax credit (PTC) for electricity produced from the wind. He is also calling for a budget for research and development of wind technology that is almost one-third higher than for the current year.

Clinton's 1999 fiscal year budget, a $6.3 billion package designed to spur clean energy technologies, proposes extending wind's production tax credit for five years. Currently the credit, $0.015/kWh (adjusted for inflation), is to expire at the end of June 1999. The President's budget also suggests increasing spending on wind to $43.5 million, compared with this fiscal year's allocation of $33 million, representing a 32% budget hike.

The proposal, however, is only a starting point and the final budget is usually significantly different once it has passed through the US Congress. Last year Clinton proposed a wind budget of $42.9 million, only slightly lower than his latest proposal. The new fiscal year starts on October 1.

Overall, Clinton is asking for a budget of $389 million for renewables and energy efficiency, compared with $301 million for the current budget year. The PTC was originally introduced as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Extension of the PTC is currently the legislative priority of wind lobbyists. Bills to extend it have also been introduced in both houses of the US Congress. Global warming and clean air is a major theme of the Clinton budget proposal, sent to Congress on February 2, with tax breaks proposed for efficient cars, energy efficient homes and solar roof panels.

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