The impending expiration of the federal Production Tax Credit at the end of the year is fueling a boom in new wind projects, which must begin producing electricity by Dec. 31, 2012, to qualify for the incentive, industry insiders said. Every time Congress allows the PTC to expire "there's a spike in activity, then [wind farm construction] falls off a cliff," said Frank Maisano, an energy specialist for Bracewell & Giuliani. When the PTC was allowed to lapse at the end of 1999, 2001 and 2003, the volume of wind power capacity installed the following year slumped by 73% to 93%, noted Elizabeth Salerno, director of industry data and analysis for the American Wind Energy Association.

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