Minnesota environmental groups and wind energy advocates are urging Congress to renew federal tax credits for renewable energy projects that are set to expire at the end of the year.
The production tax credit and investment tax credit have helped spur wind developments across the country, but dozens of Republican members of Congress say the subsidies have gone on long enough and that the credits should be allowed to expire.
Last week, a group of 52 U.S. House Republicans, including Minnesota's John Kline, who represents Minnesota's 2nd District, signed a letter asking House leaders to allow the production tax credit to expire.
Lisa Daniels, who directs the Minnesota group Windustry, said new wind developments would stall in Minnesota without the tax credit.
"The tax credit is critical," she said. "You need these incentives in order to have that revenue be part of what justifies the capital expense. Since there is no cost for the fuel, it is a capital intensive project."
Daniels said the tax credit amounts to 30 or 40 percent of a renewable energy project's value.
Minnesota ranks sixth in the country for total wind production, and wind accounts for about 14 percent of energy production in the state.
Xcel Energy recently announced several new wind projects that will be able to take advantage of the tax credits before they expire.