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Will 2012 Be the End of the World for Renewable Energy?

As the year comes to a close so do two federal tax incentives the solar and wind energy industries have relied on to power their breakneck growth of recent years. Green energy executives and their respective trade groups warn that the expiration of the incentive tax credit – used primarily by solar – and the production tax credit for wind will cost tens of thousands of jobs and slow the nation’s transition to carbon-free power. At the 11th hour or later, Congress invariably extends the tax incentives once again. In the midst of a presidential election year with Republicans riding the bankruptcy of solar panel maker Solyndra to slam the Obama administration’s green energy policies, Congress may well let the tax breaks die.