The PTC expired at the end of last year but was renewed

The PTC expired at the end of last year but was renewed for Jan. 1 through the end of 2013 as part of the fiscal cliff deal that implemented federal spending cuts but also some new taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Uncertainty about the credits renewal in late 2012 led to widespread layoffs.The language establishing the tax credit was changed so that construction on wind projects only had to be in progress by the end of the year rather than being completed in order to qualify for the credit.This has led to a brief resurgence in wind turbine production in Iowa to meet orders like MidAmerican Energys recent announcement to build a $1.9 billion, 1,050 megawatt wind farm by 2015.Prior said manufacturers like Trinity Structural Towers and TPI Composites in Newton are scrambling to rehire hundreds of workers laid off last year, and losing valuable production time.However, the PTC renewal didnt come soon enough to help Cedar Rapids-based Clipper Windpower, which at its peak had more than 700 employees and now has about 70. The company no longer manufactures wind turbines. Instead, it performs maintenance on its existing turbine fleet when required.When you renew (the PTC) late in the year, youre not giving anybody time to react, Cedar Rapids plant manager Rob Lloyd said in an IowaWatch interview this summer.Prior said short-term renewals create a boom-bust cycle, with uncertainty and lost jobs for the wind energy industry.This is no way to treat a major industry contributor to the economic vitality of this country, he said. If we had stable, long term policies we wouldnt see this happen.Support is not lacking from Iowas congressional delegation. All six members, Democrats and Republicans alike,Latino Politicians Saying Si Se Puede to Higher Energy Bills, Less Solar Power support the tax credit. Rep. Tom Latham, a Republican, said it has been crucial for consumers and development of Iowas renewable energy industry.Iowa produces the third most wind power of any state, behind Texas and California, and in 2012 the state got 24.5 percent of its energy from wind, more than any other state.High production means that wind is responsible for about 6,000 to 7,000 jobs in Iowa, the state wind energy association reports, making it a constituency that elected officials do not want to ignore.Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley favors equal treatment when it comes to credits. Grassley spokeswoman Jill Gerber said. His feeling, Gerber said, is if one is being considered for elimination they should all be considered either for retention or elimination.Iowas other senator, Democrat Tom Harkin, called renewable energy, including wind, critical for the future of the U.S. economy and to our global competitiveness.Progress has not been all that it could be because of uncertainty and delays in extending the PTC, Harkin wrote in the statement for this story. To lend predictability that will encourage greater investment in wind power I have urged a long-term or even indefinite extension of the PTC 10 years at least.

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