Tax credits extended for wind energy industry

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One industry is getting a tax break, thanks to the deal to avert the fiscal cliff – wind energy tax credits were extended in the bill that passed Congress yesterday.

More than 75,000 people are employed by the industry and the extension is expected to create more than 37,000 jobs and revive business at nearly 500 manufacturing plants across the country, says the American Wind Energy Association in a press release applauding the decision.

The deal covers wind projects that start construction in 2013. Companies that manufacture wind turbines and install them sought the definition to allow for the 18 to 24 months it takes to develop a new wind farm.

During 2012, 44 percent of all new electrical generating capacity in the United States came from wind power, a new record. That compares with 30 percent for natural gas and lesser amount for coal and other sources.

Navigant Consulting says that half the wind energy jobs would have been at risk without the extension.

There are currently 472 companies that supply the industry and the U.S. Department of Energy projects that wind energy can supply 20 percent of the country’s electrical needs by 2030.