Governors Lobby to Extend U.S. Wind Tax Credit Set to End

Governors from states such as Iowa and Oregon with wind-energy industries urged Congress to extend a tax credit set to expire next month, warning of further job losses if lawmakers fail to act.

“We’re beginning to see a negative economic impact and loss of jobs in our states” because of uncertainty over the tax break’s future, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, said today at a Washington event.

Branstad is chairman of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, a group of state leaders that supports extension of the credit, which shaves as much as a third off the costs of wind power.

The coalition sent lawmakers a letter yesterday saying a decline in wind-development orders was taking an economic toll. Siemens AG laid off more than 400 workers from a factory in Fort Madison, Iowa, according to the letter.

The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill in August to extend the credit for a year. Wind producers now get 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour generated for 10 years after the project begins. The 10-year credit in the Senate bill would cost about $12.2 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Some House Republicans have said the nation can’t afford to extend the credit amid a budget deficit.

Wind supporters said they would accept a phase-out of the credit.

“We know this is something that’s not going to last forever,” Branstad said.

Supporters said the credit’s fate may depend on whether President Barack Obama and congressional leaders can reach a deal on the fiscal cliff, the looming deadline when a series of tax cuts expire and automatic spending cuts kick in.

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