The tax credit is set to expire atthe end of this year. The bill is in conference committee and willprobably pass before then."I'm very optimistic," said Peter Mandelstam, president ofArcadia Windpower, Ltd., based in New York City. "If there's anenergy bill, there will be a three-year renewal."Mandelstam, who also sits on the board of the American WindEnergy Association (AWEA), has been active in the effort to renewthe credit.The lobbying effort has included meetings with congressmen andthe constant introduction of new research and ideas. "Investors andpolicymakers should understand that 20% of the nation's electricitycapacity comes from nuclear power," Mandelstam pointed out. All ofthese plants have a finite life, however. The average plant is now20 years old, and new nuclear plants are unlikely to be built."I suppose we could dig a lot more coal," Mandelstam said. "Butwe think that the most cost-effective technology is wind."However, the huge energy bill that contains the tax creditrenewal was delayed last year, in part because Congress could notdecide whether to open the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)to oil drilling. This dispute and others like it could stop thebill from passing again this year. In that case, industrysupporters will work to have the tax credit renewed in astand-alone bill.In the past, the wind tax credit has earned two-year renewalsand Congress has rarely renewed the credit on time. The two-yearcycle of expiration and renewal has often delayed deals (see theJournal of Tax Credit Investing, Summer 2003, page 19).It's also unknown if the renewal will include an inflationadjuster for the credit. Mandelstam is cautiously optimistic. "It'sa very small price to the Treasury," he pointed out, "and theinflation adjuster is very important to the financing of theseprojects."The adjuster was included in the House version of the bill, butnot the Senate version. Some experts think losing the inflationadjuster could add 4% to 7% to the cost of producing wind energy ifthe inflation rate increases.Advocates think the final energy bill will probably not includea national renewables portfolio standard (RPS). A national RPS wasincluded in the Senate version of the bill that would require 10%of the nation's electricity to come from new renewable energysources by 2020, but it was absent from the House version."Our champions in the White House and in the House ofRepresentatives do not currently support a federal RPS," Mandelstamsaid.