Not long after Congress passed the multiyear extension of the federal production tax credit (PTC), U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., has introduced an amendment to a Senate energy bill to completely end one of the wind industry’s most essential incentives by the end of 2031, making 2019 the last year a project could qualify for a credit.
Although Congress enacted a gradual phase-down of the PTC, Lankford’s amendment would eliminate the credit at the end of the draw-down period by removing the policy from U.S. tax code altogether.
“As I have said before, I fully support an all-of-the-above energy strategy, including wind and renewable energy,” says Lankford. “But, the taxpayer should not be forced to prop up an industry for decades when the tax credit was originally meant as a short-term jump start. The wind industry is established and prosperous; they no longer need taxpayer-subsidized help. Any state or local government can issue tax credits, but it is time for the federal government to stop these credits.”
Lankford introduced similar legislation as a stand-alone bill in October, before Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which extend the PTC and other lapsed tax credits. His bill, the PTC Elimination Act, would have started the phase-out immediately.
Lankford submitted his new provision as Amendment 3209 to the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. The Senate had been debating the bill and amendments this week; however, progress halted on Thursday when Democrats blocked the legislation from moving forward amid a partisan feud with Republicans over aid funding for the contaminated-water issue in Flint, Mich. This puts the future of the overall energy bill in question, but according to multiple reports, at least some Senate leaders appear determined to reach a compromise.