Last week, as the broader debate over the "fiscal cliff" muted discussions over whether an extension to the wind production tax credit (PTC) should be granted, the top ranking executive of wind power lobby group the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) last week announced her resignation.

Wind industry observers still predict that the PTC set to expire on Dec. 31 may still have a chance to be included in a fiscal cliff package at the end of the year, if one is reached. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday unveiled a “Plan B” approach that would keep current tax rates for everyone but those at the very top of the income ladder, but it did not address the PTC or other so-called "tax extenders."

The House is set to vote on that measure today (Thursday). Several Republican lawmakers have said it is not clear whether leaders will have enough support to pass a bill on GOP votes alone, and Democrats have vowed not to support it. President Obama has threatened to veto the measure.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who has spearheaded efforts to push PTC legislation and made more than two dozen floor speeches on the matter, on Wednesday said in an online discussion on Wednesday held along with Energy Secretary Steven Chu that "quiet conversations" that been ongoing among senators about how to include the PTC extension into the broader fiscal cliff deal.

Meanwhile, AWEA CEO Denise Bode announced she would resign effective Jan. 1, 2013, to return to private practice as a tax attorney. "There is now a strong, bipartisan team of Congressional champions for the wind industry, and the all-important extension of the [PTC]," Bode said. "When that is secured, all of my goals from the AWEA Board will have been accomplished."

Bode will be replaced by AWEA Senior Vice President for Public Policy Rob Gramlich, who will serve as interim CEO through the transition period.

Bode reportedly told The Hill on Friday that she is "not going anywhere" until the credit extension "gets done."

The industry trade group last week asked congressional lawmakers to consider a future phase-out instead of a continuous extension of the PTC, its primary federal incentive. The group said that even if temporary, an extension of the performance-based market mechanism was critical "to allow the industry to invest in the cost-saving technologies required to finish the job."

Sources: POWERnews, AWEA, The Hill