Portland Press Herald

Turbine tax credit, jobs at risk

Reforms in Washington could erase a break that has fueled wind farm projects in Maine.
Kevin Miller

WASHINGTON - The tax reform momentum that seems to be building in Congress may imperil tax credit programs that have had major impacts in Maine, including wind power investments and economic development projects in rural or low-income areas.

The credit for electricity produced at wind farms, as well as the New Markets Tax Credit program, are both due to expire Dec. 31. In Maine, wind farms have supported hundreds of construction jobs on projects that are generating 400 megawatts of electricity -- with 1,000 more megawatts on the drawing boards. The New Markets program has funneled $221 million into development projects, from the Millinocket woods to the Portland waterfront.

But with the congressional clock ticking down to the so-called fiscal cliff, this could be the year that Congress opts not to renew some policies that skeptics view as tax carve-outs for special interests.