After attempts to tack on a renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) extension to other legislation failed to gain traction, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has introduced an amendment to the transportation bill currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate that would extend the PTC for renewable energy – including wind power – for one year.
The amendment also includes the 48 C manufacturing tax credit and an extension of the Section 1603 cash-grant program.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) praised the amendment, stressing the importance of its passage to the wind power industry.
‘Times are hard for the wind industry right now – with the uncertainty of the PTC beyond the end of this year, wind project developers' plans for 2013 projects and the manufacturing orders that they'd usually place at this time of the year are not happening,’ AWEA said in a statement. "Over 400 facilities across 43 states manufacture for the wind industry – and they are facing the very real possibility of laying off employees if the industry outlook does not change soon."
While Stabenow's amendment reignites hope for the wind energy industry, another amendment to the bill introduced by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is cause for concern.
DeMint's amendment seeks to repeal all energy-specific tax credits, including those for wind power. In addition, the amendment would make the PTC retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012, meaning tax credits already awarded this year would be repealed – a disastrous blow to the industry.
Both Stabenow's and DeMint's amendments – just two of the 30 amendments proposed for the legislation – will need 60 votes in the Senate to be included in S.1813, the Surface Transportation Bill.
Neither amendment was taken up today, but a vote on both measures is scheduled for Tuesday, March 13.
After the Senate receives a companion bill from the House, it will be amended by the Senate and resolved between the two legislative houses.