| LAS VEGAS
LAS VEGAS Aug 7 Congress will vote to extend a
$12 billion federal tax credit for utility-scale wind energy
projects that is in danger of expiring at the end of the year,
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said at a clean energy summit
in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
The credit provides a production tax break for wind energy
of 2.1 cents per kilowatt hour, an incentive that the industry
says is essential to developing more wind farms and supporting
jobs at wind manufacturing plants.
"We will get it done before the end of the year, I'm very
confident," Reid said during a press conference on the sidelines
of the fifth-annual Clean Energy Summit.
"We may even get this done before the election," he said.
The head of the world's biggest wind turbine maker,
Denmark's Vestas Wind Systems, has said that the U.S.
wind turbine market would likely fall by 80 percent next year if
the credit expired. The decision is also being closely watched
by manufacturers such as the U.S.'s General Electric,
Germany's Siemens, Spain's Gamesa and
India's Suzlon Energy.
Reid's comments come after a 19-5 bipartisan vote by the
Senate Finance Committee on Aug. 2 in favor of the credit.
The tax credit had been added to a package of measures known
as "tax extenders" because they expire annually and are
Despite Reid's statement that the wind tax credit will be
extended, the provision will still need the support of the
Republican-held House of Representatives. Some Republicans say
the wind industry is mature enough that it no longer requires
Democratic President Barack Obama has urged Congress to
extend the credit, while Republican presidential candidate Mitt
Romney favors letting the credit expire.
Reid's comments come as wind power in the United States has
reached 50 gigawatts of electric generating capacity, enough to
power 13 million homes, a milestone announced by the American
Wind Energy Association on Tuesday.