us congress passes wind energy tax credit

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    Congress passes wind energy tax credit

    Sept. 24 -- Renewable energy producers are welcoming back a crucial tax credit for wind energy that is expected to kick the industry back into high gear.
    The House and Senate approved reinstating the wind energy Production Tax Credit through 2005 as part of a larger tax package Sept. 24. President Bush is expected to sign the bill. The measure provides a credit of 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity generated by wind turbines. The credit expired Dec. 31, 2003, severely curtailing investment in wind-energy projects, said Tom Gray, executive director of the American Wind Energy Association. The House and Senate bill retroactively extends the tax credit to Dec. 31.

    The extension puts about $3 billion in wind energy investments expected over the next several years back on track, Gray said. The AWEA supports a longer-term extension that is included in the Jumpstart Our Business Strength bill still pending before Congress.

    The delay in extending the Production Tax Credit sharply cut new wind energy installations following a near-record year in 2003, during which the U.S. wind energy industry installed 1,687 megawatts of generating capacity. The AWEA anticipates that wind energy will meet about 6 percent of the U.S. energy demand by 2006.
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