Wind power: PTC is jobs engine conservatives should support

That’s Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa), who explained in a Politico op-ed yesterday why he believes the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) should be extended. The PTC will expire at the end of this year under current law, but has already effectively expired for manufacturers of wind turbines and their components, items that require lead time to produce.

Some highlights of Rep. King’s article:

– The PTC has driven "as much as $20 billion a year" of private investment into the wind turbines industry, a major reason why it has accounted for more than a third of the new electric generating capacity installed in the U.S. in recent years.

– The PTC has bipartisan support, as well as backing from a number of major business associations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Edison Electric Institute.

– Iowa has shown what wind power can do, with wind farm plants generating 20 percent of the state’s electricity, supporting up to 5,000 jobs, attracting $300 million in new manufacturing investment, and providing $11 million in annual rental payments to farmers.

– Workers are already being laid off in the wind turbines due to the uncertainty created by Congress’s delay in extending the PTC. While the credit is still in place, "the economic damage has already begun."

Concludes Rep. King, "This is not a partisan issue. It is a manufacturing jobs issue. With low taxes, wind power can deliver tremendous benefits – in jobs, investment and clean energy — to Iowa and the nation."

Tom Gray,