Without key federal tax incentive, demand for wind turbines falls

September 13, 2004 -- CropChoice news -- Cara Pesek, Lincoln Star-Journal, 09/10/04: Windmills of Holland, which makes wind turbines that generate electricity, has put on hold plans to build a plant that would employ at least 160 people, said the company's senior vice president, Gene Cornett.

The windmill company's decision is related to the demise of federal incentives for wind energy, Frager and Cornett said.

In early February, Windmills of Holland said it would build in Fairbury. At the time, company officials said they expected the plant to be up and running by early or mid-2005.

On Thursday Cornett said the company still planned to move to Fairbury and to create at least 160 jobs.

But a governmental glitch has put plans on hold indefinitely, he said.

The company is waiting until the wind energy production tax credit is reinstated. The credit, which the federal government established in 1992, gives tax breaks to wind energy farms during their first 10 years of operation.

The tax credit expired at the end of 2003, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Bills have been introduced in the House and the Senate to extend the tax credit, but neither has passed, Cornett said.

Since the tax credit expired, demand for wind turbines has dropped, he said.

The company doesn't want to begin production, he said, until the credit is reinstated - something he said he is confident will happen, though likely not until next year.

"We don't want to come in and have what we call a false start," Cornett said.