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Developer of ND's Largest Wind Farm Awaits Word on Production Tax Credit

April 10, 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. - The wind-energy industry in North Dakota and the U.S. is in a holding pattern, as manufacturers await word on the fate of the national production tax credit.

The CEO of Denali Energy, Curt Johnson, says that if lawmakers would truly study its impact, they would approve an extension.

"They would see that it would be an absolute 'no-brainer' for its renewal because renewal would create such production and activity within our economy, that it's really not a partisan issue whatsoever, once they understood the true mechanical application to our economy and how it affects the results of power generation."

Denali is the company that's developing what would be the largest wind farm in North Dakota, in the northwest corner of the state.

Johnson says the loss of the credit would hamper production, especially for projects on the margin, although he says the project they are developing in North Dakota will proceed either way.

"There are tremendous resources such as ours in North Dakota that we're reviewing, we're developing, and we will get them on line. It's just that it will be a little bit different in its configuration financing-wise. There will still be development, but not to the proliferation that it would be otherwise."

Among the lawmakers who are pushing for a two-year extension of the wind-energy tax credit is Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who says there are 37,000 jobs directly connected with wind power across the country. Another 75,000 jobs have an indirect connection.

"And I hope we can get it passed pretty soon, because I think in a month or two, you're going to start seeing some layoffs, because nobody is going to build for inventory. If we don't have the tax credit, we may not have a whole lot of turbines put up."

Without an extension, the wind-energy tax credit will expire at the end of this year.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND