On August 2nd the Senate Finance Committee voted to renew the wind power production tax credit that is set to expire at the end of this year with the proposed Wind Powering America Jobs Act. The bill is expected to go to the Senate floor when Congress returns from summer recess. Wind farms can generally choose to receive a continuing credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced or receive a one-time payment equivalent to 30 percent of the cost of developing a project. Currently the production tax credit and the option to elect the 30 percent renewable energy investment tax credit will expire at the end of 2012. In contract, the renewable energy investment tax credit for solar projects will continue through the end of 2016. However, it is unclear if the House will support a renewal of the wind production tax credit.
The Internal Revenue Service recently issued Private Letter Ruling 201214007 which concluded that in the acquisition by the taxpayer of a wind energy facility accompanied by a facility specific power purchase agreement the taxpayer was not required to allocate any portion of the purchase price to the power purchase agreement. The Internal Revenue Service reasoned that where a power purchase agreement is fulfilled by a specific energy facility, the power purchase agreement had no value separate from the energy facility. In the facts presented to the Internal Revenue Service the owner of the energy facility could not satisfy the power purchase agreement from any other energy source other than the specific energy facility. The effect of the Private Letter Ruling is to permit an increase in the tax basis of the facility which results in an increase in the renewal energy investment tax credit and the basis of the energy facility for purposes of depreciation.