U.S. Senate committee approves extension of wind energy tax credit

With the current wind energy production tax credit (PTC) expiring Dec. 31, 2012, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee approved a one-year extension. The entire Senate is expected to take up the measure when it returns in September.

Before adjourning for its August rececss, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted 19-5 to approve a one-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy producers. The entire Senate is expected to take up the measure when it returns in September.

The current PTC, which expires Dec. 31, 2012, effectively decreases the cost of wind energy and has been credited with fueling the rapid expansion of wind farms in the U.S. over the last several years. If the PTC is not renewed, many suppliers of wind turbines say they will be forced to reduce production and lay off workers.

The extension, which is generally opposed by Republicans and backed by Democrats, was notably approved by three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee from states that have substantial involvement in wind turbine manufacturing. 

If the extension passes the U.S. Senate, it must then be approved by the House of Representatives before it can become law.