New Year Anxiety for Wind Turbine Manufacturers

The New Year Rings in the Death Knell for Tax Credits

December 30, 2012
Manufacturing Group

While some of us will be ringing in the New Year with celebrations and resolutions, many wind turbine manufacturers are awaiting Jan. 1 with anxiety.

That’s because when the ball drops at midnight, the federal wind production tax credit expires, and any turbine installed after that is not eligible for a federal subsidy.

Emilio Flores for the New York Times has an article detailing the last-minute sprints by turbine manufacturers, such as people at Iberdrola Renewables. The company has 169 new wind turbines in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and California, with a control center in Portland, OR.  The company’s Manzana installation will meet the deadline and get the tax credit.

Those who miss the deadline are out of luck:

“Wind turbines that are connected to the grid and in commercial service before midnight on New Year’s Eve are entitled to a 2.2 cent tax credit for each kilowatt-hour they generate in their first 10 years, which comes out to about $1 million for a big turbine,” says Flores.

According to the article, the wind industry expects installations to drop by 90% in 2013, costing about 37,000 jobs along the way. Without the tax credit, which advocates say costs taxpayers nothing, developers are not taking the early steps necessary to build wind farms.

The article also debunks the idea that a one-year extension would do much for the industry. It would not give developers enough time for financing, building, and connecting turbines to grids before the expiration date.