LENEXA, Kan. - The wind-energy industry in Kansas was once thriving, but now its future is cloudy.
The entire wind-energy business is suffering due to uncertainty over the possible extension of the federal Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit, which is set to expire at the end of this year.
The tax credit subsidizes wind, geothermal and other renewable-resource energy projects. However, the credit’s renewal has become a split issue in politics, with President Barack Obama in favor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arguing against it.
Frank Costanza is the vice president of TradeWind Energy in Lenexa, a company that specializes in developing and managing wind-farm projects. He said he believes another extension will eventually be granted, but does not know how long it will last.
"I think the industry can move forward,” Costanza explained, “but it certainly would move forward and certainly at a greater pace if the tax-credit program were extended for a longer period of time."
Some companies like Siemens have already cut hundreds of wind-power jobs, including 146 at a plant in Hutchinson, Kan. TradeWind Energy says it has not made any job cuts.
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