As part of the fiscal cliff deal, Congress approved the extension of a tax credit for wind energy projects for the next year.
That’s critical for Ohio because of projects being developed in the western portion of the state, said Julian Boggs of Environment Ohio, a nonprofit advocate based in Columbus.
It’s expected that President Obama will sign into law the cliff bill that extends the tax credits for wind power. Boggs said the incentives for wind power – the renewable energy Production Tax Credit and the offshore wind Investment Tax Credit – expired on Dec. 31.
With the tax credit, wind turbines are entitled to a 2.2 cent tax credit for each kilowatt-hour they generate in their first 10 years, which can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a some turbines. Companies also have the option of requesting a lump-sum payment equal to 30 percent of the construction cost.
Critics of the tax credit argue that the government should take a more free-market approach. Proponents say the credit helps create jobs.
The credits will be available for projects that start construction over the next year, Boggs said. One, the Buckeye Wind Farm, is under development in Champaign County. Everpower Renewables, the company in charge of Buckeye Wind, estimates that $20 million in payments to local governments and school districts will be made over the project’s life.
The two-phases of the project have a pricetag of $300 million. It will employ 10 to 12 full-time workers when finished and generate energy for 40,000 households. The credits will help finances of the project, which should be under construction in 2013, spokesman Jason Dagger said.
Boggs said that two large wind farms in Van Wert and Paulding counties are equal to reducing pollution created by 19,000 cars each year.
“Our current national wind energy capacity also reduces air pollution by avoiding 137,000 pounds of smog-forming emissions and 91,000 pounds of soot-forming emissions every year,” Boggs said.
A 2012 survey by industry advocate American Wind Energy Association said Ohio ranks fourth among all states in jobs linked to wind energy with 5,000 to 6,000 employed.
The survey said demand for new wind generation created nearly 500 American manufacturing facilities and employed 75,000 overall, including 30,000 in manufacturing. Ohio has 50 companies supplying components, the group said.