The U.S. wind power industry got a boost last week from news that congressional negotiators agreed to extend a tax credit for electricity produced from wind and some other renewable sources. The credit, which had expired on June 30, is estimated to reduce the cost of wind power by 1.3 to 2.0 cents per kilowatt hour. Wind energy can now be generated for around 4 to 6 cents per kilowatt hour, before taking into account the credit, compared to the cost of fossil-fuel energy at about 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour. The University of California at Irvine released a report last week that found that wind energy was playing an important role in reducing air pollution in California, but that more needed to be done to support the industry. Peter Navarro, one of the report’s authors, recommended that government help boost the wind-power industry by giving it low-interest loans and committing to buy power from renewable sources.

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