Lawmakers looking to renew the wind production tax credit that just won’t die
posted at 5:31 pm on March 22, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
Unfortunately, we knew this was coming. The wildly generous wind production tax credit that provides 2.3 cents/kilowatt-hour of energy during the first ten years of a project’s operation, as well as the investment tax credit worth up to 30 percent of the costs of developing wind turbines, have been allowed to lapse multiple times over the years, only to be resurrected — zombie-like — shortly thereafter. The well-monied wind lobby has its hands full with the industry-wide freakout that ensues every time the tax credits near their expiration dates, since wind energy is so thoroughly reliant on federal special treatment for survival, and credits’ expiration at the end of 2013 resulted in a whole lotta’ wind project proposals making it in under the wire during last year’s fourth quarter.
But that expiration was never going to be allowed to stand for long. Via The Hill:
A group of 144 members of the Congress sent letters Friday urging their colleagues to renew tax credits that help the wind energy industry. …
“Like all businesses, the wind industry seeks certainty and predictability so that long-term project decisions and investments can be made,” said the letter signed by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), along with 24 other senators.
“Without that stability, we once again risk losing many of the jobs, infrastructure and investment that the wind industry has created,” they wrote.
Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) sent a similar letter along with 116 of their colleagues. …
“We look forward to Congress, in particular the Senate Finance Committee, acting quickly to extend the PTC and ITC so that the U.S. remains a global leader and our businesses can continue building, expanding and hiring,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, said in a Friday statement.
Dear Tom Kiernan and wind’s Congressional apologists (Democrats and “small government, free-market” Republicans): Since, as you say, the wind industry cannot “continue building, expanding and hiring” without these tax credits in place, maybe you are in the wrong industry. At this stage, by your own admission, wind energy cannot yet compete with alternative sources like natural gas — so maybe instead of throwing gobs of taxpayer money at building political preferred energy infrastructure that has yet to achieve competitive price efficiency, you could maybe throw some of that cash into R&D, or at least just stop wasting it? I absolutely agree that the wind industry needs some stability to work with, which is precisely why these subsidies should be eliminated once and for all instead of going along in this costly, torturous shame cycle of special-interest pandering.