Prospects for a PTC extension were also buoyed by positive comments from several Senators, both regarding the PTC and willingness to consider extending expiring tax provisions, during a hearing Tuesday.
In making their plea, Branstad and Brownback called for an "all-of-the-above" energy policy that promotes a diverse portfolio of domestic energy resources, adding, "The wind energy sector is an American success story that is helping us build our manufacturing base, create jobs, lower energy costs, and strengthen our energy security. Our states have experienced the economic benefits of wind turbines first hand, and we cannot overstate the importance of extending this tax provision early in the year so the wind farm industry has the certainty it needs to grow."
During the Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday, Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) said he will consider adding extensions of some expiring tax provisions to the payroll bill. Baucus said he would be talking with conference committee members about the cost and popularity of the expiring provisions to get a sense of which ones might be added.
Other encouraging comments included:
– Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee: "Now, more than ever, the U.S. needs to ramp up domestic energy production from all sources: oil, gas, biodiesel, solar power, wind turbines, and others. Aside from energy independence as a national security matter, it is important to note the number of domestic jobs that rely on the energy industry. Without these tax provisions, all of that will be at risk."
– Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD): "We should pursue all options for energy development, and failure to act on these expiring energy credits would have a major negative impact. The wind turbines industry needs the credits by March or April, or it faces a catastrophic contraction."
– Sen. John Thune (R-SD): "The wind farm production tax credit comes to mind. Many of these provisions have a long lag time. I would say that this should put even more urgency behind the efforts for fundamental reform. If we can’t do that soon, we need to figure out how to give economic certainty to Americans."
Legislation extending the PTC has received the endorsement of a broad coalition of more than 370 members, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Edison Electric Institute, the Western Governors’ Association, the United Steelworkers and many members of the environmental community. A PTC extension also has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, which includes 23 Republican and Democratic Governors from across the U.S.
Tom Gray, www.awea.org/blog/