Tuesday, August 13, 2013

CO: Secret energy lab spawns million dollar govt employee

CO: Secret energy lab spawns million dollar govt employee

GOLDEN, Colo. – The federal government’s dream of a renewable energy empire hinges on a scrubby outpost here, where scientists and executives doggedly explore a new frontier.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory campus
If you live outside Colorado, you probably haven’t heard of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory – NREL for short. It’s the place where solar panels, windmills and corn are deemed the energy source of the future and companies who support such endeavors are courted.
It’s also the place where highly paid staff decide how to spend hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.

But what is really going on there? Energy expert Amy Oliver Cooke drove out to the site, which looks something like Nevada’s Area 51 with its remote location and forbidding concrete buildings. NREL had started a construction project and Cooke wanted to see for herself. She didn’t get far: a man in an SUV seemingly appeared out of nowhere, stopped her car, and told her to leave.
“A beefy looking fellow told me, ‘It’s top secret,’ said Cooke, director of the Energy Policy Center at the Independence Institute think tank. “I said, ‘I’m a taxpayer and I want to see what you’re building’ and he said it was it was ‘top secret so we can bring Americans a better future.’”
With its bloated budget and overseen by a $533 million a year government-funded management company, Cooke isn’t buying it.“NREL has given us two of the most significant boondoggles, one of them being ethanol and the other being (bankrupt) Abound Solar,” she said. “They were part of the team that pushed Abound Solar along. In fact, they wrote in March 2011 on their website how proud they were of their role in abound solar.
“Am I impressed with NREL? No, not really,” she said.

NREL’s taxpayer-funded management company has seen its budget more than double since 2006. That’s when one of its most ardent supporters, Rep. Ed Perlmutter D-Lakewood, was first elected to Congress. The lab sits in the middle of his district.
But Perlmutter’s ties go beyond merely promoting green legislation and lobbying his colleagues for NREL funds. He has received $12,670 in campaign contributions from executives of NREL and its management company, MRIGlobal, a company that describes itself as “an independent, not-for-profit organization that performs contract research for government and industry.” Perlmuter’s father has served as a trustee for MRI and MRIGlobal during the past decade. Between 2003 and 2005, Perlmutter was also a trustee. These positions were unpaid.
Perlmutter did not respond to phone calls seeking comment for this story.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, NREL started in 1977 as the Solar Energy Research Institute, a Jimmy Carter-era response to the 1973 Mideast oil crisis. Its budget, then about $100 million, was slashed during the Reagan era.
By the time Perlmutter was elected, NREL’s budget was $209.6 million. It increased steadily before ballooning to $536.5, a beneficiary of President Obama’s stimulus plan and a $135 million contract spread out over five years to construct a new science center. Its current $352 million budget is down slightly from last year’s $388.6 million.
From its inception, NREL has been managed by MRIGlobal, back then called the Midwest Research Institute.
To handle lab management, MRIGlobal partnered with Ohio-based Battelle Memorial Institute, which describes itself as “the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization.” The pair formed Alliance for Sustainable Energy, a separate non-profit in 2008, for the sole purpose of managing NREL and installed NREL’s top executives as its directors.
Despite record federal debt, municipal bankruptcies and a nagging global recession, those executives enjoy pay packages that are out of reach of most Americans who pay their salaries. MRIGlobal and Alliance tax documents obtained by Watchdog show most earned well into six-figures:
  • Dan Arvizu, Alliance president and NREL director
2010: $928,069
2009: $691,570
2008: $652,159
  • Bobi Garrett, NREL senior vice president of Outreach, Planning and Analysis
2010: $524,226.
2009: $398,022
  • William Glover, NREL deputy lab director and CEO (retired)
2010: $557,571
2009: $407,361
2008: $315,465
  • Catherine Porto, NREL senior vice president
2010: $406,339
2009: $223,553
The budget to manage Alliance is mind-boggling — and rising. For 2010, tax documents show, Alliance received $532.9 million from the Department of Energy, a whopping $189 million more than they were paid in 2008.
In 2010, MRIGlobal’s tax return shows DOE funding of $104.8 million, while Battelle’s tax return reported $4.55 billion in government grants. Its activities included management of five national laboratories (including NREL) and operating as subcontractor at a sixth.
However, at least one expert who has studied NREL doesn’t see any problem with the fact that the agency is overseen by a management company.
“I have no problems with the contractors operating the lab. They would do a much more efficient job than the government,” said Nick Loris, an energy policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation. “It should lower the cost of these projects.”
But what Loris doesn’t like is the entire concept of placing the government in a role of making energy affordable. That should be a job for the private sector.
“It’s not the government’s role to make energy cheaper. There is no reason the taxpayer should subsidize this,” he said. “We’ve seen the failures when the government gets involved in these projects. If they are going to be successful in the marketplace, they wouldn’t need help from the government”
In fact, the billions that have been siphoned into renewable energy have yet to produce a fraction of the promised return, Cooke claims.
Solar and wind still remain prohibitively expensive and not viable for general use as are corn and wood chips to fuel cars. Yet NREL labs continue to work to this end. Cooke predicts that numerous taxpayer-subsidized companies will go bankrupt in the coming years just as the overinflated housing market came crashing down.
And it’s not just the money, she said. It’s the environmental threat.
“I’ll tell you what’s pollution,” Cooke said. “It’s solar panels and wind turbines abandoned — things with toxic chemicals in them,” she said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen to these things. What do you do with a farm of abandoned wind turbines that are 500 feet tall?”
Despite its bloated stimulus funding, there are signs of financial trouble at NREL. The company offered to buy out 100 jobs when its budget dropped between 2011 and 2012.
Perlmutter spokeswoman Leslie Oliver expressed concern about the buyouts, calling NREL the nation’s green energy “crown jewel” and a driving economic force, the Denver Post reported.
“What about next year?” Oliver said. “Where does this stop?”
On his website, Perlmutter blamed Republicans for the cuts and claimed NREL generates 5,500 jobs. Its direct workforce is listed at 1,700.
By all accounts, Perlmutter’s relationship with NREL will continue. He spent two years trying to pass legislation to give solar companies a break with bankers before successfully adding the language to the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.
He is co-chairman of the New Democrat Coalition Energy Task Force, part of the Financial Services Committee. Perlmutter has leveraged that role to keep alive a 20-year-old energy tax credit to producers of wind technology.
That credit would have expired at the end of the year. But the Financial Services Committee produced a bill to extend the credit for another year, which carries a cost of $12 billion over the next decade, The Hill reported. It faces stiff opposition from House Republicans.
Meanwhile, as energy expert Cooke predicts, the green business is still shaking out unsustainable ventures. The Danish wind company Vestas, which has several Colorado production sites, announced on Nov. 7 that it will shed 6,700 jobs through the end of next year.
Who’s to blame for the industry’s troubles? Government subsidies? Poorly run companies? Insufficient demand? Foreign competition?
Perlmutter blamed the Tea Party.
“It is clean and it is the future of energy production,” Perlmutter wrote on his website. “Until the Tea Party took over this has always been a simple, noncontroversial tax credit.”
Contact Tori Richards at tori@coloradowatchdog.org and Earl Glynn at earl.glynn@franklincenterhq.org

About the Alliance

Alliance Concept for NREL

Battelle and MRIGlobal formed Alliance solely to be NREL’s management and operating (M&O) contractor. Alliance, which is equally owned and governed by Battelle and MRIGlobal, is fully accountable to DOE for NREL’s performance under the new contract. The Battelle-MRIGlobal team has a history of successfully working together and takes pride in NREL’s long association with DOE.
A prime goal of Alliance is to ensure that NREL becomes the catalyst for the creation of a renewable energy epicenter. Initially, it will be centered at the Laboratory, but will eventually expand to help bring about global adoption of clean energy. Alliance wants to create an opportunity for NREL to become the focal point for renewable energy—a "Silicon Valley for renewables."
Alliance will accomplish this through:
  • Strengthening NREL's scientific, technical and analytical foundations by adding talent and connecting the Laboratory to the nation's research engine at leading universities and laboratories.
  • Creating a Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis in partnership with MIT, Stanford and the Colorado research universities. This will provide credible and objective technology, market and policy insights that will inform R&D, commercialization, policy and market decisions to accelerate the impact of our portfolio on national energy goals.
  • Introducing new people, systems and approaches for commercialization and deployment to move innovations rapidly from concept to customer.
  • Building a "Campus of the Future" that leverages our partnerships and showcases sustainable energy on and near the NREL site.
  • Creating a safe and supportive work environment for this vibrant, innovative and entrepreneurial Laboratory that will attract and retain the best talent from around the world.

Alliance Governance

NREL will be governed by a Board of Directors consisting of five executives each from MRIGlobal and Battelle, and one each from the following five universities: the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford.

Alliance Leadership

Dr. Dan ArvizuDr. Dan Arvizu, president of the Alliance, serves as NREL's laboratory director. He has led NREL under MRIGlobal’s management for seven years. During that time, he has begun the transformation of the laboratory by reorganizing and strengthening high-risk science, developed a 10-year campus buildout plan to accommodate $200 million of capital improvements aligned with the science, technology, and laboratory support mission, and hired nearly 300 new staff.

Mr. Ken PowersMr. Ken Powers is NREL’s Deputy Laboratory Director and Chief Operating Officer. He served most recently as Associate Administrator for Management and Budget at DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) where he was responsible for administrative operations supporting 33,000 employees nationwide. Powers served as Associate Administrator for Infrastructure and Environment at NNSA, managing a $500 million annual budget for environmental management, project management and nuclear material integration programs. Previously he directed project management and procurement activities for NNSA’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM), including the planned $20 billion Yucca Mountain Repository. He also served as the Deputy Manager of DOE’s Nevada Operations Office, managing the $500 million annual budget for the operations and maintenance of the Nevada Test Site.

Dr. Dana C. ChristensenDr. Christensen is NREL's Deputy Laboratory Director for Science & Technology. His depth and breadth of energy science and management experience is of great value as NREL accelerates its efforts to develop important new clean energy solutions to benefit the nation. He came to NREL in October 2010 from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he maintained responsibility for more than $350M of programs for a variety of government and industrial sponsors in all dimensions of energy science and technology including energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Ms. Bobi GarrettMs. Bobi Garrett is NREL’s Senior Vice President for Outreach, Planning, and Analysis. Ms. Garrett combines broad experience in energy research management, energy analysis, and strategic planning with a deep understanding of DOE’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and NREL. During her 13-year tenure at NREL she has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to build or renew major organizations and programs.

CO: Conflict-ridden congressman spawns legacy of ‘green banking’

By   /   November 15, 2012  /   No Comments
By Tori Richards and Earl Glynn | Colorado Watchdog
LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Throughout his most recent campaign, as in three campaigns past, Congressman Ed Perlmutter sold himself as a defender of the average citizen, exemplified by his monthly grocery store mingles, where constituents bring the Lakewood Democrat problems — from medical issues to the inability to obtain small business loans — and maybe leave with a head of lettuce.
Ed Perlmutter
The three-term Democrat beat GOP challenger Joe Coors, working hard to distinguish himself from wealthy Americans and their network of lobbyists and special interests.
In reality, Perlmutter’s personal life is intertwined with the emerging class of entrepreneurs who have jumped into the government-subsidized financial and energy markets.
A Watchdog.org investigation reveals that Perlmutter has secured untold millions in loans for a bank in which he is an investor, accepted campaign funds from energy companies in which he served — and his father continues to serve — as a trustee, and was married to a lobbyist who obtained a $535-million loan from the Obama administration for Solyndra, the infamous Silicon Valley-based solar-panel company that went bankrupt soon after.
Perlmutter’s 7th Congressional District encompasses Golden, Lakewood and the northern part of metropolitan Denver. It’s also home to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which has supported Perlmutter’s campaigns from the beginning.
“As a member of Congress, I have worked hard to promote measures that will increase energy efficiency and incentivize Americans to make their homes and businesses more sustainable for the future,” Perlmutter says on his website. “Promoting energy efficiency is the easiest, most immediate course to saving consumers and small businesses money, and it will create jobs that can’t be outsourced.”
It’s difficult to argue with any policy proposal containing such warm and fuzzy buzzwords as “green,” “saving consumers,” “efficiency” and “environment.” But Perlmutter’s preferred strategy of achieving those goals has been to work with the Obama administration to shift billions of taxpayer dollars to high-paid private-sector firms that produce little.
“The problem with many of these green-energy companies is that we’ve given billions of dollars to them and they are a miniscule part of our grid,” said Amy Oliver Cooke, director of the Energy Policy Center at the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank. “They are inefficient and not economical and at some point we have to stop pouring good money into glorified science projects.
Amy Oliver Cooke
“What has happened under the Obama administration is that they have put bad green-energy projects on steroids,” Cooke continued.  “It’s not clean, it’s not green and they love to say wind and solar is free. The sun shines for free and the wind blows, but it’s not the resource that costs the money, it’s the capturing and transmission of wind and solar that makes it wildly expensive.”
Despite this, Perlmutter has found his niche and promotes it every chance he gets.
“He is always talking about the environment, he is Mr. Green Energy,” Cooke said. “Politically well connected green-energy programs get funded. These entities got $90 billion from the stimulus bill.”
As we’ll find out, Perlmutter is well connected indeed.
Now 59, Perlmutter made his first foray into politics in 1995, serving as chairman of the bipartisan Renewable Energy Caucus in the Colorado Senate. He also served on the Water and Oil and Gas committees.
When his last term ended in 2003, Perlmutter went back to his commercial law practice. That same year his wife, Deanna Perlmutter, registered as the director of the political action committee Environment2004 Inc. “an organization dedicated to informing the American public about the linkages between federal environmental policy and local health and quality of life,” according to the environment investing firm EKO.
In 2006, when Perlmutter won his seat in Congress, he told the Denver Post his wife would not lobby him or any member of Congress.
But two years later, Deana Perlmutter registered as a lobbyist for Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturing company. Her lobbyist disclosure statement shows she earned her employer $140,000.
Then on March 20, 2009, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu offered Solyndra a $535-million loan guarantee. The money was used to build a new factory six months later in Northern California. President Obama was on hand for the groundbreaking and returned for a visit the following year.
Despite the taxpayer handout, Solyndra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011 and laid off all employees. The next month the FBI raided the company’s headquarters to determine whether top officials lied to the Department of Energy regarding its financial status to get the loan. Solyndra’s website is still up and running; with the last entry from a year ago saying it has suspended operations. To date, no one has been prosecuted.
Solyndra stands vacant in Fremont, Calif., the building for sale.
In a lawsuit filed last month, Solyndra blamed its woes on Chinese solar panel manufacturers that have flooded the market with cheap goods.
The Perlmutters filed for divorce in 2008, but Deana continued as a big player in Washington. Public records show she attended four meetings at the White House last year, including one with Sally Ericsson, an energy director with the Office of Management and Budget, and another with Ginger Lew, senior adviser to the National Economic Council.
For his part, Perlmutter was sitting on the powerful House Financial Services and Rules committees, positioned to vote on key legislation involving spending money on massive energy projects.
Many of Perlmutter’s most ardent supporters are the institutions with the cash — banks and bankers. Watchdog.org discovered that banking entities have donated $378,232 to Perlmutter’s campaign since 2005, when he first ran for Congress.
The trifecta of Perlmutter’s environmental stance, committee assignments and close relationship with banks created the perfect storm in the early morning of June 26, 2009. That was when he inserted language into a hotly contested bill that created an entirely new banking system favoring green-energy companies and users.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 — a massive, 1,437-page bill — was designed to reduce global warming pollution, achieve U.S. energy independence and create jobs. Largely divided along party lines, and with the Democrats still in charge, the House Rules Committee added 310 pages to the bill at 3:40 a.m. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled a vote the next day, giving detractors little chance to study the changes.
One of the additions was section 299E: Green Banking Centers. Authored by Perlmutter, this section was similar to language he had used in crafting two previous, failed stand-alone efforts — the GREEN Act to develop renewable energy sources of 2008 and of 2009.
Specifically, it said in part:
“Federal banking agencies shall prescribe guidelines encouraging the establishment and maintenance of ‘green banking’ centers by insured depository institutions to provide any consumer…
“Information…that permit lenders to provide more favorable terms by allowing lenders to increase the ratio on debt-to-income requirements or to use the projected utility savings as a compensating factor;
“(O)btaining beneficial terms for any mortgage or loan, or qualifying for a larger mortgage or loan, secured by a residence which meets or will meet energy efficiency standards…”
This means that banks can loan extra money to equal the amount in energy savings. But the language “beneficial terms” is vague and could have bad consequences, said Todd Cuffaro, a San Diego banking expert who has testified in court on more than 60 cases. He is CEO of banking consultant firm Atlantic Pacific Bancorp.
“When ACORN first started years ago, it sounded good but morphed into unintended consequences,” Cuffaro said. “In terms of recognizing alternative energy sources as a benefit, it is just good lending. But to add another dimension that says, ‘OK, you are a borrower that believes in solar, we are going to give you a cheaper loan or not charge you as many points.’ Obviously that has a good intention, but when you say ‘beneficial terms,’ nothing has been defined.”
Solyndra grabbed federal tax dollars and then went bankrupt.
Neither of Perlmutter’s earlier energy bills made it to the Senate, suggesting that it took the smoke and mirrors of a much larger bill to mask his otherwise unpopular effort. As a modest footnote in the vast American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, Perlmutter’s banking and energy legislation escaped scrutiny, and was signed into law by President Obama.
“In order to save green, we must go green,” Perlmutter crowed on his website. “By prioritizing energy efficiency practices, we can ease the woes of homeowners, lenders, financial markets, builders and our environment. This bill is another tool to move our country toward energy conservation and sustainable development.”
What Perlmutter didn’t say was that his Green Banking Center legislation benefited a bank in which he owned stock and which contributed to his campaign.
New Resource Bank, in San Francisco, opened its doors in 2006 with the vision of becoming “the bank for people who are leading the way to a more sustainable world,” according to its website. “A group of successful entrepreneurs, bankers and business leaders founded the bank … with a vision of bringing new resources to sustainable businesses. …” Two of those successful founders were Deana Perlmutter and Ed Perlmutter’s father, who helped the bank get off the ground by providing “seed capital and effort,” according to news reports. The link to that page on the site has since been taken down.
Before the bill passed, New Resource executives gave Perlmutter a total of $4,500 in contributions. Bank co-founder Daniel Yohannes donated $8,800, according to opensecrets.org.  Perlmutter himself invested between $1,000 and $15,000 according to disclosure forms, but in a debate last month with Coors he said that this amount has since been liquidated.
That may be true. What remains, however, is a $50,000 trust account with stock in the same bank for his grandchildren.
UP NEXT: We look at Perlmutter’s ties to huge federal and nonprofit energy conglomerates and their skyrocketing budgets. 

Wind tax credit backers ramp up campaign to greet Congress

By Ben Geman - 11/08/12 02:27 PM ET
Advocates of expiring tax credits for wind power projects will greet next week’s return of Congress with a multi-front campaign for extension of the incentives in the lame-duck session.

A bipartisan group of governors, under the umbrella of the 28-member Governors’ Wind Coalition, will hold a Tuesday press conference calling for an extension of the production tax credit that’s scheduled to expire at year’s end.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) will be at the Capitol Hill event, while Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and perhaps Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will join by phone, an advisory states.

Separately, the Sierra Club has blanketed a Capitol Hill metro station with ads in advance of a multiday “wind week” campaign next week to promote extension of the credits.
“Wind power makes clean energy, good jobs and better future. Don’t blow it,” some of the ads state, showing images of people working on wind projects. The ads, shown here, will run for a month.

The wind industry calls the production tax credit vital to financing new projects, and says that uncertainty about its future is what’s behind a number of recent layoffs by companies such as Vestas Wind Systems.

The industry will shed 37,000 jobs if the credit expires, according to a study by the consulting firm Navigant that was commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

“Wind week” will involve labor, environmental and wind industry groups, the Sierra Club said.

“Every day that Congress delays action means more layoffs and job losses for American workers. The wind industry doesn’t just support clean energy that keeps our air free of pollution, it also feeds the families of 75,000 workers,” Sierra Club President Michael Brune said in a statement.

Elsewhere, AWEA is lobbying hard for the credit and plans to deliver Congress a petition from wind industry workers – including veterans in the sector – as soon as next week.

The trade group’s fall symposium with industry officials in Arizona next week is also expected to feature strategizing over how to move the credit’s extension in the lame-duck session.

The 20-year-old credit has historically had bipartisan backing, but Republicans are increasingly criticizing green energy programs.

Critics of the credit are also boosting their efforts. The American Energy Alliance, a conservative group with fossil fuel industry backing, is circulating a new study on Capitol Hill that’s critical of the incentive.

It argues that the credit provides “training wheels” to an industry that doesn’t need them — especially at taxpayers’ expense.

The Senate Finance Committee in August approved a one-year extension of the credit, which carries an estimated cost of $12 billion over the next decade.

But the committee bill, which extends a series of expiring tax incentives, did not yet make it to the Senate floor. The House has not acted on the credit.

Study by oil-backed group says wind industry doesn't need tax credit

By Ben Geman - 11/01/12 03:57 PM ET
Critics of tax credits for wind energy projects are intensifying their push to kill the incentive with a study that calls it “rent seeking” by an established industry that doesn’t need the subsidy.

The conservative American Energy Alliance (AEA) unveiled the study Thursday as wind power companies — joined by allies including President Obama — are pushing Congress to renew credits that are scheduled to lapse at year’s end.

AEA, which receives some of its funding from fossil fuel companies, is circulating the study on Capitol Hill ahead of a lame-duck battle over the fate of the multibillion-dollar incentive.The group is also promoting the study to editorial boards, governors and others.
AEA commissioned a study by Louisiana State University economist David Dismukes that argues the 20-year-old production tax credit (PTC) provides “training wheels” to an industry that doesn’t need them — especially at taxpayers’ expense.

“[T]he federal PTC should expire since it has morphed from an ill-designed temporary subsidy for a purportedly ‘infant industry,’ into an inequitable tax hand-out for what is clearly a well-established industry that distorts markets and allows wind to compete unfairly with both conventional generation resources and even other types of renewables,” the study states.

Dismukes argues that green electricity requirements in place in 30 states, not the tax credit, have been the primary driver of the growth in wind power generation over the past five to eight years, creating a guaranteed market.
As a result, the credit allows wind power companies to “double dip,” the study states.

The report also lays out a series of other arguments against the PTC, alleging for instance that it creates “hidden costs” for power consumers to cover the expense of connecting intermittent, remotely located resources to the grid.

AEA is sponsoring an event with The Hill about the PTC on Nov. 14.

The wind industry calls the incentive vital to financing wind power projects. New installations have dropped sharply when the credit has been allowed to lapse, which last occurred in 2004.

Industry advocates note that job losses have already begun along the wind power supply chain amid uncertainty over the credit’s fate, such as layoffs in Colorado by Vestas Wind Energy Systems.
The industry will shed 37,000 jobs if the credit expires, according to a study by the consulting firm Navigant that was commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

AWEA, the wind industry’s main trade group, also pointed Thursday to upbeat analysis of the credit prepared by NextEra Energy Resources, a power company that’s heavily invested in wind.

“[T]he PTC doesn’t cost taxpayers anything in actuality — because the local, state, and federal taxes paid by the expanded industry more than add up to the tax relief provided up-front to incentivize all that private investment. Without the PTC, the industry wouldn't be nearly as big and thus wouldn't pay those taxes, so there is no opportunity cost,” AWEA said, citing the NextEra analysis.

But the AEA report argues that the PTC isn’t needed to ensure long-term growth in wind energy generation. It also pushes back against arguments about layoffs if the PTC lapses, noting that the industry is “already overbuilt with considerable excess capacity” in several regions.

“The fact that the wind industry may experience a market-driven downward correction in output and employment does not signify some type of policy failure justifying an expense of this nature,” the report states.

The thrust-and-parry over the credit will intensify in coming weeks when Congress returns for what's shaping to be a frenzied stretch of battles and deal-making.

The Senate Finance Committee in August approved a one-year extension of the credit, which carries an estimated cost of $12 billion over the next decade. But the committee bill, which extends a series of expiring tax incentives, did not make it to the Senate floor.

The credit has backing from many Democrats, and Republicans in Iowa and other heartland states where the industry is growing.

But it remains unclear whether the incentive — which has historically had bipartisan support — will clear Congress at a time when many Republicans oppose green energy programs.

GOP White House nominee Mitt Romney opposes the credit’s extension.
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