Wind Coalition Calls
For PTC Certainty
Throughout the year, several anti-wind groups have lobbied Congress to end the production tax credit (PTC). However, a group of governors seems to have the wind industry’s back and is calling for a multi-year extension of the incentive.
Last week, the Governors’ Wind Coalition, a bipartisan group of the nation’s governors, sent a letter to leaders of Congress defending the wind PTC. Signed by 11 group members, the letter says the following:
“Almost a year ago, many of our citizens who work in the wind industry were subjected to an unnecessary series of layoffs and hardships because Congress failed to extend the wind energy production tax credit in a responsible and timely manner.
Across the nation – from Oregon to Vermont – thousands of Americans working in one of the nation’s most important growth energy industries lost their jobs. We were witness to the hardships that over 5,000 Americans had to endure when they lost their jobs because of the anticipated expiration of the tax credit.
After Congress passed the tax credit extension in January, the nation’s wind industry began a very troubled recovery. The clearest example is the loss of investments. In 2012, the wind industry invested nearly $25 billion. In the first six months of 2013, the wind industry installed just one turbine – a 99 percent drop in investments.
This Congressionally sanctioned uncertainty has hit the nation’s wind industry incredibly hard. The current wind energy production tax credit is due to expire on Dec. 31, 2013. We respectfully urge you not to repeat the legislative brinksmanship of 2012 and to adopt a responsible multi-year extension of the production tax credit so that the wind industry and related industries can plan for a smooth transition to the expiration of the tax credit.
Our nation has some of the best wind resources in the world, but the lack of stable policy hinders the nation’s ability to develop them fully. The nation’s wind industry developers do not need this tax credit forever, but they do need policy certainty in the near term to bring their costs to a fully competitive level.
Please support our states in the pursuit of economic strength, energy diversity and consumer savings, by acting quickly to adopt a responsible multi-year extension, even if it reduces in value over time, of the production tax credit.”
Seeks PTC Expiration
Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is leading an attack against the wind production tax credit (PTC). The congressman and about 50 other House members have jointly issued a letter asking House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp, R-Mich., to allow the incentive to expire and not include an extension in tax reform or tax extenders legislation.
“The growth in wind is driven not by market demand, but by a combination of state renewable portfolio standards and a tax credit that is now more valuable than the price of the electricity the plants actually generate,” the letter reads. “As the House Ways and Means Committee takes on the commendable, but difficult, task of enacting revenue-neutral tax reform legislation, the PTC should be excluded from there or in any tax extenders legislation that the committee may consider.”
Pompeo says his call to end the wind PTC has garnered bipartisan support, including from Rep. Nick Rahall, a Democrat from West Virginia.
Sens. Push Energy
In New Farm Bill
Eight U.S. Senators have sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry urging it to include a strong energy title in the current farm bill it is developing. A collection of environmental, renewable energy and agriculture advocacy organizations led by the Agriculture Energy Coalition (AgEC) fired off its own letter in support.
On Oct. 30, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chair of the Agriculture Committee, opened the first meeting House-Senate Farm Bill conference committee. In a statement, Stabenow set out the committee’s priorities as crop insurance, subsidy reform, food aid and soil conservation efforts. There was no specific mention of the energy title.
The letter from the eight senators, which includes the signatures of noted energy title supporters Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, pushed for a number of energy programs by name, including the Rural Energy for America Program, which provides grants and loans to help rural businesses and agricultural producers invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives, including solar and small wind projects.
The supporting letter from the AgEC urges the Agriculture Committee to adopt a five-year farm bill that includes $900 million in mandatory funding for the energy title.
Last summer, the U.S. House and Senate wrangled with different farm bills, but no legislation made it out of Congress. The 2008 farm bill expired Oct. 1 with no successor in place.
Ohio Vets Meet
Lawmakers On RPS
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) says 20 veterans from across Ohio met with state lawmakers in November to educate them about the benefits of Ohio’s renewable energy standards. According to the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC), local utilities are currently required to have 12.5% of their electricity generated by renewable energy resources by 2025.
Clean energy campaign Operation Free organized the advocacy event, and AWEA says many of the veterans are employed in the renewables industry.
“I’m proud that Ohio has shown leadership in this area through our renewable energy standards, which create clean, homegrown energy options – like wind and solar – that save Ohioans and our military on their utility bills, create thousands of jobs, and stabilize energy markets while ensuring reliable access for a more secure energy future,” commented Zach Roberts, Air Force veteran and Operation Free’s Ohio director.
AWEA notes that the event came after State Sen. Bill Seitz recently introduced S.B.58, legislation that would reduce Ohio’s renewable energy standards if passed.
U.S. Senators Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., have introduced a bill to establish a national renewable electricity standard (RES), which the officials say would create almost 300,000 jobs, reduce pollution and save consumers almost $100 billion on their utility bills by 2030.
As proposed, the bill would require the nation’s utilities to generate 25% of their power from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2025. The legislation would set a 6% requirement by 2014, followed by gradual increases thereafter to meet the 2025 goal.
The senators, who are first cousins, first introduced a similar initiative in 2002 while members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Since being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008, they say they have continued the fight. In 2010, Sen. Mark Udall helped introduce a federal standard that did not pass; however, he did help establish a state-level renewable portfolio standard in Colorado in 2004.
“Clean energy creates jobs, spurs innovation, reduces global warming and makes us more energy independent,” says Udall. “This common-sense proposal would extend Colorado’s successful effort to expand the use of renewable energy alongside natural gas and coal to the entire nation.” w
Wind Coalition Calls For PTC Certainty
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