Congress Renews Wind Energy Production Tax Credit

September 29, 2004


Photo of a man who appears tiny atop the hub of a massive wind turbine.

A worker prepares to enter the hub of GE's 1.5-megawatt wind turbine. With the tax credit reinstated, about 200 of these wind turbines will soon be erected in Iowa.
Credit: Sandia National Laboratories

Congress approved a bill on September 28th that will extend the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) through the end of next year. The PTC was included in a major tax package that President Bush is expected to sign. The PTC provides a tax credit of 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (in 1992 dollars, adjusted for inflation) for power produced by wind turbines. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the PTC extension will allow wind energy investments of about $3 billion to move ahead over the next several years. See the AWEA press release and the full text and latest status of the bill, HR 1308.

Wind power is yielding economic benefits for Pennsylvania, as Gamesa, a Spanish wind energy company, has agreed to base its East Coast development offices and U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia and to also locate a wind blade manufacturing facility in the state. According to Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, the new Gamesa facilities could generate as many as 1,000 jobs in Pennsylvania over the next five years. See the governor's press release.

Wind power is also moving ahead in Iowa, as MidAmerican Energy Company, the state's largest utility, has chosen two sites on which to install 310 megawatts of wind power. One site is near Blairsburg, about 40 miles north of Ames in central Iowa, and the other is in northwest Iowa, near Storm Lake. The company will erect about 100 1.5-megawatt General Electric wind turbines at each location at a cost of about $323 million. MidAmerican Energy expects the Storm Lake site to be online before year-end, and the Blairsburg site should begin operating in 2005. See the MidAmerican Energy press release.