Governors urge prompt extension of wind energy tax incentive

In a letter addressed to leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, Governors Lincoln Chafee (I-R.I.) and Terry Branstad (R-Iowa) today urged Congress to "promptly pass a multi-year extension of the wind tax credit." Chafee is chair of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, a group that includes 23 governors–Republican, Democratic, and Independent–from around the nation, while Branstad is vice-chair.

The letter refers to the wind power Production Tax Credit (PTC), which is currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2012. According to Chafee and Branstad, "Although the tax credit for wind energy has long enjoyed bipartisan support, it is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2012. Wind turbines related manufacturing is beginning to slow in our states because the credit has not yet been extended. If Congress pursues a last minute approach to the extension, the anticipated interruption of the credit’s benefits will result in a significant loss of high-paying jobs in a growing sector of the economy.

"We strongly urge Congress to adopt a more consistent and longer-term federal tax policy to support wind energy development in the United States and to support recently introduced legislation such as the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act (H.R. 3307)." H.R. 3307 was introduced two weeks ago by Congressmen Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and has attracted a bipartisan group of other Representatives as cosponsors. It would extend the PTC for four years.

The letter also stated that:

– "Like the oil and gas industries — which enjoy substantial tax credits that have not expired in nearly 100 years — wind energy, a domestic source of energy, needs a predictable policy for sustained economic growth and innovation."

– Leading wind power companies are already beginning to lay off employees because of uncertainty about when the credit will be extended. In order for them to plan production, it is important that the incentive be extended this year.

– "Without policy certainty, investors, developers, and manufacturers will move projects and jobs elsewhere."

Commented AWEA CEO Denise Bode, “The 23 Governors in this coalition are on the front lines of creating jobs and economic development in their states. Their broad, bipartisan support of a four-year extension for wind’s key federal tax incentive is yet another indication of how wind energy is generating manufacturing jobs and economic opportunity all across the country.

"Homegrown wind energy now generates 20% of the electricity in Iowa year-round, and at times has reliably supplied more than 25% of electricity on the main Texas grid and over 55% of electricity on the Public Service of Colorado power system. And we are on track to provide 20% of America’s electricity — and support 500,000 American jobs — less than 20 years from now. I want to thank the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition for their support of clean, affordable wind energy.”

Tom Gray,