Congress approves tax credits boost for US wind

US Congress approved support for wind, solar and other renewable energy technologies as part of a $2.3 trillion pandemic relief package

Both the US Senate and House of Representatives passed the bill on Monday (21 December) (pic: US government)

US Congress has agreed a one-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for onshore wind as part of a $2.3 trillion pandemic stimulus package.

The PTC – a main driver of wind power growth in the US – was due to expire at the end of the year, but will now be set at 60% of its original value for another year.

It has also set the investment tax credit (ITC) at 30% of its original value for offshore wind projects starting construction from 1 January 2017 through to 31 December 2025.

Offshore wind farms had been due to receive declining amounts of the ITC, rather than the flat 30% rate.

The bill also directs the Department of Interior to aim to procure at least 25GW of wind, solar PV and geothermal energy on public lands by 2025 – up from 5GW in 2019.

Heather Zichal, CEO of the newly formed American Clean Power Association, said: “We appreciate that Congress has recognised clean energy’s significant contributions to our nation’s economy and role in providing jobs and investments during the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“As we enter the new year, stable policy support will help ensure that wind and solar can continue providing the backbone of our country’s electricity growth.”

The changes come as part of a relief package that also included measures to extend the PTC for solar PV by two years; reduce production of hydrofluorocarbons – a greenhouse gas used in air conditioning and refrigerators; and spend billions of dollars on research and development to advance technologies including carbon capture and storage.

The bill is expected to be signed into law on Monday (28 December), according to news wire Reuters.

It comes one month before Joe Biden – who has vowed to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and steer the US towards carbon neutrality by 2050 – is sworn into office as president.