By Sally Bakewell
| January 25, 2012
The U.S. likely will extend wind energy incentives regardless of whether President Obama wins the election in November, according to Dean Zerbe. Large U.S. turbine makers are lobbying Congress to renew the credit. Vestas, the world's biggest turbine manufacturer, said that more than 1,500 U.S. jobs are at risk if the credit is not extended.
Dean Zerbe, National Managing Director at alliantgroup, a Houston-based tax consulting services firm, said in a Bloomberg interview that the Production Tax Credit probably will be renewed by lawmakers after the vote or early next year. The wind credit, due to expire in December, grants an incentive worth 2.2 cents a kilowatt-hour of power produced.
“I expect most of them to be continued in place,” Zerbe, who served as an adviser to Senator Charles Grassley on the Senate Finance Committee from 2001 to 2008, said by phone from Washington. “I think you'll see an extension of a lot of these pieces but probably after the election” in the form of an extenders bill, Zerbe said. That could also come before, he said.
Energy tax credits are likely to face more scrutiny from both a Republican or Democrat administration, Zerbe said. “Wind and other entities are going to have to show that they're commercially viable.” The tax credit also covers other renewable technologies such as geothermal power and biomass.
Obama used his State of the Union speech on January 24 to urge Congress to pass clean energy tax bills to support renewable energy initiatives while pledging to use public land for clean energy projects.
“We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough,” he said. “It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable and double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising.”