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United States

Long term production tax credit extension on the table

Not one week into the beginning of this year's new Congress, wind's federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) was back on the table with a long term proposal to extend the credit from North Dakota Congressman Earl Pomeroy. His initiative comes less than a month after lawmakers passed a one year extension to the PTC through December 31, 2008. Pomeroy's five year extension would protect the credit until 2014. It creates the longer term market the industry says is required to move from "business as usual" to a genuine ramp up of development and manufacturing. Michael Peck of Gamesa's US wind division expressed tempered optimism that the law could wind its way through the congressional gauntlet. "We should be encouraged when people in authority come up with a great idea, however, we have 100 senators and over 400 representatives. We're going to have a lot of checks and balances. You win these arguments one at a time and we have a long road ahead of us, but that road is well illuminated when those ideas come forth." Pomeroy presented the legislative proposal at the headquarters of North Dakota tower manufacturer DMI Industries, where he explained how past lapses in the credit forced the company to let go of over 100 employees in 2003. Since Pomeroy's proposal, the House of Representatives passed a package of energy legislation with benefits for renewables, but the specifics will need to be ironed out with the Senate side of Congress in the weeks or months to come.

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