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20120206-NEWS--1-NAT-CCI-CL_-- 2/3/2012 2:59 PM Page 1 $2.00/FEBRUARY 6 - 12, 2012 WIND WINDS DOWN FitzGerald has Local suppliers fear effects of impending lapse of production tax credit high hopes for central services ABOUT THE CREDIT By DAN SHINGLER I t’s going to be a busy, blustery start of the year for the wind energy business, say its local proponents and participants — followed by a dead calm that could leave the sector in the doldrums even before the end of summer. A federal production tax credit on wind energy investments that has helped boost the return that developers receive from wind energy projects expires on Dec. 31 of this year. With little talk in Washington, D.C., about extending the credit, wind power developers are trying to get See WIND Page 20 First enacted in 1992, the production tax credit provides wind farms and other renewable energy facilities with a subsidy of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity that they generate in the first 10 years of their operation, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Since 2009, wind farm developers also have had the option of claiming a one-time 30% tax credit on their investments, in lieu of the 10-year subsidy. The credit has been allowed to lapse before, including in 2004 when it resulted in a 76% decline in wind turbine installations that year, according to AWEA’s data. AWEA since has asked for the credit to be put in place for a longer term and says the industry needs long-term predictability in tax policies in order to develop projects that can take years to — Dan Shingler plan and build. County leader’s goal is take to consolidation of municipal services from idle talk to reality By JAY MILLER Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald thinks he has found a way to overcome nearly a century of resistance to leaner, less fragmented government in the county. It was the first point in his 12-point Western Reserve Plan for unifying the county, which Mr. FitzGerald laid out in his State of the County address last Wednesday, Feb. 1: “Implementing a practical strategy for creating a functioning, countywide metropolitan government.” That goal doesn’t mean he wants to start erasing municipal boundaries and create a single city, or even a handful of mega-suburbs. However, he does want to take talk of consolidating services among city governments beyond what he termed “a water cooler conversation” by turning the county into a central provider of “Ed’s vision is outstanding. I’m leaving here with ideas dancing in my head.” – Brad Sellers, mayor, Warrensville Heights EDITORIAL: Ed FitzGerald’s central services initiative won’t bear fruit overnight, but it’s worth the effort. Page 10 services that communities could tap into under contract agreements. “For the first time, it’s going to stop being a theoretical issue,” Mr. FitzGerald said during a Jan. 30 preview of the plan with Crain’s editorial board. “Now there’s going to be an option where there wasn’t an option before.” He later would add: “We’re not on See FITZGERALD Page 20 INSIDE NEWSCOM Danish turbine maker Vestas shocked the industry last month when it announced 2,335 job cuts worldwide, including 182 in the United States. Quicker turnover for distressed property To avoid taking over commercial buildings that serve as collateral for bad loans, bankers now are more apt to sell them via receivership sales. PAGE 3 PLUS: Crain’s names account executive Nicole Mastrangelo its new advertising sales manager. PAGE 5 State committee digs through public colleges’ capital wish lists Requests outpace cash, so group must prioritize improvement projects By TIMOTHY MAGAW 06 Northeast Ohio’s public colleges and universities shipped their renovation wish lists off to Columbus, and now hope their peers can come to a consensus about what most needs a-fixin’. Time is of the essence in this process. Gov. John Kasich has asked a committee chaired by Ohio State University president Gordon Gee and made up of college presidents and the heads of associations representing Ohio’s public colleges and universities to submit by Feb. 15 a list of renovation projects to be considered for inclusion in the state’s next capital bill. That bill covers a two-year budget cycle beginning July 1. The state’s budget woes nixed a capital bill for the 2011-2012 bien- nium, but Gov. Kasich, according to his spokesman, plans to roll out an “austere” capital measure to lawmakers this spring. The prospect of a cash infusion for capital upgrades at higher education institutions, though likely small, is a welcome relief for college presidents who’ve received nothing for renovations since mid-2010. Dr. Gee’s six-member committee is charged with figuring out how to best divvy up what’s expected to be a small pot of roughly $350 million among 37 institutions statewide for what they’ve deemed their highest renovation priorities. The pot is about $80 million less than what was doled out for higher education in the last capital bill, which covered fiscal 2009 and 2010. See CAPITAL Page 7 0 NEWSPAPER 74470 83781 7 SPECIAL SECTION HEALTH CARE Publicly funded hospitals wonder what’s next as economic problems add up ■ Page 15 PLUS: HIRING SHIFTS ■ HEALTH CARE COACHES ■ & MORE Entire contents © 2012 by Crain Communications Inc. Vol. 33, No. 6

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