Dec 14, 2012 10:35 AM by David Jay
BILLINGS - The wind energy tax credit expires at the end of this year unless Congress takes action.
About 50 people came out to hear a forum of experts discussed the importance of renewing that credit, Thursday night at the MSU-Billings downtown campus.
The credit started in 1992 and was last renewed in 2009.
The experts talked about renewing the energy production tax credit or PTC. They say without the PTC, there will not be as much investment in wind energy.
The current law gives an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the production of electricity from utility-scale wind turbines.
Senate Max Baucus, chair of the Senate tax writing committee, sent legislation extending the credit to the full Senate.
The proponents say production tax credit is important in wind energy investment.
"You have to take advantage of everything that presents itself as an opportunity to Montana," said Chuck Tooley, moderator for the forum. "For investment, for employment, for whatever, and this is just one of those options for the portfolio."
"If the tax credits continue then we'll see more development of the farms in the state which bring more jobs for wind technicians," said Francisco Saldivar, lead Instructor of Sustainable Energy for City College at MSUB. " And the university is preparing to train those technicians that are needed so the jobs can stay in Montana."
Earlier Thursday, the Wind Energy Association proposed extending the credit for one year, and then phasing it out by 2018.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Energy Research says Congress should let the tax credit expire.