Jan 6, 2013 1:42 PM by Beth Beechie - MTN News
GREAT FALLS - The effects of the fiscal cliff bill seem to be weighing heavily on the minds of Americans, but for Montanans, one wind energy company sees potential in some of the extensions granted through 2013.
While the fiscal cliff deal left some big issues unresolved, it did breathe life into wind energy. For Gaelectric, an Irish company with operations headquartered in Great Falls they're grateful for the Production Tax Credit extension.
"All energy in the US is subsidized. And so this levels the playing field. And that's all we're asking for," company CEO Steve Juhlin said.
When Juhlin heard of the extension, he admits he was surprised. "I honestly didn't think with all the cuts proposed, that we would be able to get something like this through. It just politically seem like it was going to happen."
But now, with the extension some finer details are yet to be determined. But projects that begin in 2013 will be eligible for the tax credit.
Senator Max Baucus says that this extension is good news when it comes to employment.
"I'm very pleased we were able to get the wind tax credit in this law because that's jobs. It's jobs for Montana and many other states. Along with other energy in Montana like oil and gas, wind is also very important."
"A lot of our supply base were actually shutting down factories, firing people and just speaking with them since the extension was announced, they've been ecstatic," Juhlin added.
Gaelectric says they can now solidify offers they had for wind projects last year. But with the extension, much it still in the air for 2014, but Juhlin says they'll make the most of what they've got.
"A one year extension is fantastic. We could love for it to be significantly longer. At this point, we'll take whatever we can get," Juhlin concluded.
Gaelectric says most of those projects they're working on are on the west coast.