Production Tax Credit survives fiscal cliff

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The renewable energy industry can breathe a sigh of relief as it jumps the fiscal cliff unscathed.

The Federal Production Tax Credit was set to expire at the end of 2012, and much of the renewable energy industry's (including on and offshore wind) fate hinged on the extension.

In 2012, 10,000 wind energy jobs were lost, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Without the extension of tax credits, the industry was looking at a potential loss of an additional 37,000 jobs, not only hurting the U.S. economy, but putting the country behind in the global renewable energy market.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, offshore wind has the potential to produce four times the capacity of the current electric grid. And investments in Atlantic offshore wind could generate 300,000 new jobs and $200 billion in the U.S. economy, according to the National Wildlife Federation -- an opportunity that could be seized with tax credit extensions.

Some states have enacted policies to facilitate renewable energy, but those alone go just so far. With the extension of the Production Tax Credit in the early morning hours of New Year's Day, the government is walking the talk, and proving that clean energy is a priority for the country.

– Barb