wind turbine and American flag

Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group Inc.

It appears that a deal in the works to avert the so-called fiscal cliff would extend a critical tax credit for the wind-power industry for one year.

“The potential agreement that’s being talked about … would extend tax credits for clean-energy companies that are creating jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” President Obama said at a press conference today.

The production tax credit (PTC) for the wind industry expires today. With its status up in the air, wind companies across the country have been laying off workers and putting projects on hold. If the PTC isn’t renewed, 37,000 jobs could be lost, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

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Clean-energy advocates had been hoping for a deal that would extend the tax credit for multiple years. After all, the fossil-fuel industry doesn’t have to come crawling back to Congress repeatedly to beg for renewal of its subsidies — the main dirty-energy perks are ongoing. But a one-year extension would be better than nothing. And the terms of the tax credit might be changed so that new wind projects don’t have to be finished in 2013 to qualify, but just have to be started, which would mean a bigger boost to the industry.

Of course, the whole fiscal-cliff deal is still totally up in the air. “Today, it appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year’s tax hike is within sight, but it’s not done,” Obama said at his press conference. So don’t raise a toast yet. You might want to pour a stiff drink instead.