Mayor Don Ness joined environmentalists in Duluth Wednesday to call on Congress to extend a federal wind energy subsidy.
Officials with Environment Minnesota argue that allowing the production tax credit to expire at year end could cause new wind power construction to drop by 75 percent. The group issued a report saying wind energy produced in Minnesota prevents power plant emissions equivalent to the pollution from 757,000 cars a year.
Ness said a lot of wind turbines come through the city's port on Lake Superior.
"We have become world leaders in handling this massive equipment that's coming though our port, so there's a great deal of benefit to our local economy," Ness said.
The tax credit provides a subsidy of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for utility-scale wind projects. Environment Minnesota's Michelle Hesterberg said without it there will be more pollution.
"Our message to Congress today is clear: Don't let wind fall off the fiscal cliff," Hesterberg said.
The non-partisan Congressional Research Service estimates it would cost $12 billion to extend the credit for another decade. Minnesota currently generates about 11 percent of its electricity from wind — fourth after Texas, Iowa and California.
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