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Wind energy firms urge credit extension

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Some Minnesota businesses involved in wind energy production are urging Congress to extend the wind energy product tax credit, which expires at the end of the year.   

Supporters of the tax credit held a news conference Monday at the base of a wind turbine in North St. Paul. U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison said failure by Congress to act on the tax credit extension  poses a serious threat to the wind energy industry.  

Mark Ahlstrom, CEO of Windlogics, a St. Paul-based wind patterns analysis company, employs about 50 people. Ahlstrom said he's already had to cut 10 employees because uncertainty about the future of the credit has slowed business.

"Very early in this development process, we saw the impact last fall. And what we saw is that new project planning for 2013 essentially ceased," he said. 

The industry estimates that about 3,000 people work in wind energy-related jobs in Minnesota.