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Senator proposes five year production tax credit extension

Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota and a ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, is proposing an extension of the federal tax credit for wind power investors through 2010. The American Wind Energy Association's Jon Chase says a five year term, instead of the two years proposed by the Bush administration, would give the industry the longer lead times it needs to plan and build projects more efficiently. It would also allow development of a stronger wind turbine supply chain. It is currently overstressed by the high level of activity after last year's slump, when manufacturing for the US all but shut down when the wind turbine market disappeared along with the PTC. After expiring at the end of 2003, the tax credit, worth $0.018/kWh, was not reinstated until September. Whether project developers will be able to get hold of the wind turbines they want this year remains to be seen. Chase says he expects Congress will soon be putting together a new energy bill package, including a PTC extension that both the House of Representatives and the Senate can agree on.

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