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Wind budget wrangling in US Congress

After much political wrangling, the US federal research and development budget for wind power may now be final -- although there is a possibility that it could still fall victim to last minute and highly partisan negotiations on the government's entire budget. In conference negotiations between the two houses of the US Congress, the wind budget for the new fiscal year has been set at $33 million out of a total renewables budget of $336 million. That is only slightly lower than the $34.8 million wind budget in the fiscal year that has just ended, FY 99, but it is far lower than the $45.6 million proposed by the Clinton Administration. The question of whether wind's Production Tax Credit (PTC) will be extended, even for one year, had yet to be decided towards the end of last month. An extension of the subsidy is considered vital for the short term future of the US wind industry, both by renewables lobbyists and by the Clinton Administration. When eligibility for the credit expired on June 30, it was approximately $0.017/kWh for the first ten years of a wind project's life.

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