A federal tax credit for wind farms is set to expire at the end of the year. If it’s not renewed, companies that own those farms will have to pay more in corporate income taxes.
E.ON Climate & Renewables, a Chicago-based wind farm developer, recently began construction on what will be one of the biggest wind farms in Indiana. It expected to span four counties in northern Indiana. But the completion of the project depends largely on the federal renewable energy tax credit for financial support.
E.ON spokesman Matt Tulis says he’s still hopeful Congress will renew the tax credit that expires at the end of this year.
“We remain optimistic that we’ll get an extension of the tax credit, it’s just a matter of when,” he says
Tulis says the company is concerned because it’s trying to plan for next year, but it doesn’t know how much support, if any it, will get from the federal government.
Indiana Senator Richard Lugar voted against an extension of the renewable energy tax credits earlier this year. Lugar’s spokesman Andy Fisher says the senator supports renewable energy efforts but believes extending the tax credits should be a part of larger effort to reform the tax code.
“The senator has supported a broad range of renewable energy efforts. At some point however, there are these enormous implications of our tax code that need to be resolved and we should do that in a comprehensive way at some point,” he says
Laura Arnold is the founder of the Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance, an advocacy organization that lobbies for federal, state and local policies in Indiana. She says the way Congress has extended the credit for short periods of time has had a detrimental “yo-yo” effect on the wind industry.
“Then rather than cutting off the production tax credit we ought to have a serious discussion about gradually phasing out the credit rather than what’s going to happen at the end of this year,” she says
Arnold says the benefits of wind farms go beyond the energy industry. She points out that as wind energy has expanded, so has the need to hire workers that can manufacture the wind turbine parts.