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Congress Extends Wind Energy Tax Credit

Fri September 24, 2004 09:57 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress extended through 2005 a popular tax credit for companies that produce electricity from wind.

The extension should allow about $2 billion in wind projects to go forward, which would add more than 2,000 megawatts in capacity that could provide power to half a million homes, the American Wind Energy Association said.

The tax credit expired on Dec. 31, 2003 and a multi-year extension was initially part of legislation to overhaul U.S. energy policy for the first time in more than a decade.

However, with that broad energy bill bogged down in Congress, lawmakers put language in a family tax cut bill passed late Thursday that would extend the production tax credit through the end of 2005.

President Bush is expected to sign the legislation.

The U.S. wind industry installed a near-record 1,687 megawatts of capacity in 2003. This year, however, most new wind energy projects are on hold because of uncertainty over the tax incentive, according to the wind trade group.

The industry has installed only about 30 megawatts of new wind capacity so far this year, the group said.