A federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) extension for wind projects wound its way through the House in late October, but not as part of the congressional energy bill. Instead, Republican House members included a two-year PTC extension in a $99.5 billion economic stimulus package designed to bolster the US economy in the post-September 11 world. The Democrat controlled Senate, however, has already signalled it wants a smaller and different kind of stimulus package -- and several senators are attempting to extend the PTC, worth about $0.017/kWh, in that package to five years, according to the American Wind Energy Association's Christine Real de Azua. The differences between the House and Senate bills are a matter of philosophy, with the business oriented House bill providing incentives to businesses for growth, while the Senate is considering a more consumer oriented approach, including protections for those on a low-income. The inclusion of a PTC extension in the economic stimulus packages does not exclude the possibility of a longer PTC extension being included in an energy bill, which has for the moment been put on the back-burner while Congress deals with America's more immediate problems. Once the Senate completes its economic package, the two will have to be reconciled at some point, Real de Azua says.
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