January 23, 2013

Another View: Maine economy will benefit from wind-power tax credit extension

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins deserve credit for helping this industry grow.

By Diane G. Gilman, a resident of Woolwich

Wrapped up in the fiscal cliff deal that passed through Congress was a one-year extension of the production tax credit for wind-power production.

Under federal law, the production tax credit provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the production of electricity from utility-scale turbines. This critical tax credit ensures consistency and stability in the wind-power market.

I want to personally thank Maine's Sen. Susan Collins and then-Sen. Olympia Snowe for voting for the production tax credit for wind power.

The production tax credit is an effective policy tool to help developers raise capital in the marketplace, complete financing of wind projects and bring those projects to completion. In the past five years, as the industry has benefited from a continuous production tax credit, the wind industry has seen a robust average annual growth rate of 35 percent.

Equally impressive, electricity from wind power capacity in the U.S. supplies electricity equivalent to that used by more than 10 million American homes. There are now 38 states with utility-scale wind turbines. And there are 75,000 jobs supported by the wind industry across all 50 states, including manufacturing jobs at more than 400 facilities.

Developing clean-energy sources like wind energy will make the United States more energy independent, will preserve American manufacturing and clean-energy jobs, will lower carbon pollution and fight climate change, and will clean up our air.

American workers are now manufacturing 70 percent of wind turbines deployed by the wind industry in the U.S. The wind industry has said that 37,000 American jobs would be at risk if the tax credits were not extended.

Thanks to the production tax credit extension in the fiscal cliff deal, the industry is now on track to create 17,000 new wind industry jobs by 2016.


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