With Congress in recess until after the looming November elections, energy issues continue to make headlines both on the campaign trail and during preparations for the lame duck session.

One of the biggest end-of-the-year debates will be over the tax extenders package, and its potential inclusion in some sort of fiscal cliff avoidance package. The Senate Finance committee has already reported out legislation (S. 3521) that would extend the wind energy production tax credit and other expiring energy incentives that may be included in that broader package. The Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012, approved August 2 by the Senate Finance Committee, includes more than $18 billion in energy-related tax incentives that could be extended; $12.1 billion would fund a one-year extension of the 2.2 cent per KWh production tax credit and pay for a change that allows wind projects that are under construction by the end of next year to be eligible for the credit. Other energy tax incentives in the package include a production tax credit for other renewable energy projects, credits for energy-efficient homes and appliances, and tax incentives for cellulosic biofuels and other alternative fuels.

If Congress and the White House do not embrace a grand compromise in order to avoid the fiscal cliff during the lame duck session, automatic spending cuts and tax increases totaling about $606 billion are scheduled to occur January 2.