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United States

Future of production tax credit back on the political agenda

The future of the US wind production tax credit (PTC) is firmly on the political agenda with the introduction of four more Senate bills that would extend the incentive beyond its expiration at the end of this year. A PTC extension to January 1, 2007, is part of a comprehensive energy tax bill introduced by four ranking Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Finance and Energy committee. The bill extends the PTC to some other renewables technologies, creates a small wind turbine investment tax credit of 30%, and includes incentives for energy efficiency. It also includes incentives for increased oil and gas production. Another piece of legislation, sponsored by Nevada Democrat Harry Reid and Oregon Republican Gordon Smith, aims to make the PTC permanent and extend it to include solar, geothermal and other forms of green energy. "Our demand for energy is growing by leaps and bounds," says Smith, who introduced a bill earlier this year calling for a ten year extension. "We have to make sure that not only are we generating enough from traditional sources, but that we're also looking for new environmentally friendly ways to provide for our ever increasing needs." North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan, a strong supporter of wind energy, has introduced his own bill calling for the PTC to be extended through 2008. Like Reid, Dorgan points to the need to bring long term policy stability to the wind industry. "Producers need certainty in order to make these investments, as well as time to plan and build." The third bill, introduced by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, would extend the PTC another three years. Grassley, who chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee, points to the environmental and economic benefits of wind development. In his home state, major wind farms already pay more than $640,000 per year to landowners.

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