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MI Wind Developer: Industry Needs Tax Answers Soon

March 26, 2012

LOWELL, Mich. - The Michigan wind energy industry is waiting for a favorable forecast from Congress. The wind production tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year, and delayed decisions on its renewal have some sectors of the industry in a holding pattern.

Richard VanderVeen, president of Michigan's Mackinaw Power, a company working on several wind projects in the state, says this is the wrong time for uncertainty in the industry.

"We need local, state and federal policies now that really do open the doors for new jobs, the protection of our Great Lakes, and new clean power for America. This is homeland security."

VanderVeen says the tax credit also benefits other renewable sectors, and has seen strong bipartisan support, although with few pieces of legislation moving through Congress, there have been limited opportunities for a vote on the credit. The credit itself also has prompted some controversy, with calls to let it expire.

Clean Line Energy co-founder Jimmy Glotfelty says this is not the time to put a damper on the economic benefits of wind. Without the credit, he predicts China would quickly step in to replace lost U.S. manufacturing, and that means a loss of local jobs and county tax money. His company develops high-voltage, long-haul transmission lines for renewable energy resources.

Glotfelty has found the limbo of the credit status is already taking a toll.

"Companies would already be producing components for 2013, and those orders are not happening right now because people are waiting to see if the tax credit is going to be renewed or not."

He stresses that any extension of the wind production tax credit would be temporary because, as the industry grows, the credit will no longer be needed.

Production tax credit details at are at bit.ly/H2qTvz.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MI