Wind farm: Bipartisan group of Senators introduces bill to extend PTC

U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) yesterday introduced a bill that would provide a two-year extension of the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

The bipartisan proposal would prevent a lapse in the credit. In a news release, the Senators said they hope to have the extension passed as quickly as possible in order to provide tax certainty for the renewable energy sector.

“Tax reform efforts might modify or address this incentive in the near future, but the jobs and opportunities provided by wind power should not be abandoned in the meantime. And limiting the bill’s impact on the deficit can be addressed,” Grassley said. “Tax relief has succeeded in developing this clean, renewable and innovative energy source, and it ought to be continued with the degree of certainty that encourages continued investment. Unemployment remains high at 8.3 percent and energy costs are on the rise. Congress should renew the wind energy tax credit to develop clean energy alternatives and good paying jobs.”

“Extending the wind energy tax credit is a move that can give Coloradans and Americans a great return on investment – a stronger economy, more local jobs and more affordable power for our homes,” Udall said. “With employers like Vestas willing to invest in Colorado, Congress needs to act well before the deadline and give these employers certainty to plan ahead – otherwise those jobs will move to other countries. Failing to extend the production tax credit for wind power will threaten the industry’s growth and Colorado jobs, and I’ll continue to push my colleagues for a better solution where Colorado keeps our jobs.”

AWEA CEO Denise Bode said in a statement, "I want to applaud Senators Grassley, Udall, Brown, Harkin, Heller, Wyden and Bennet for introducing this important piece of legislation. The support of these Senate leaders, along side the overwhelmingly strong and bipartisan support the Production Tax Credit extension has received in the House, clearly shows that wind energy is one of the few items of consensus in an otherwise difficult political climate.

"Immediate extension of the PTC is critical in order to save 37,000 U.S. wind turbines manufacturing jobs that will otherwise be lost in the next year. Advancements in wind turbines technology have resulted in a steady decline of the cost of electricity from wind farm, and we’ve been clear that we don’t need the PTC forever. We are just asking to finish the job. One of America’s fastest growing new manufacturing sectors would be lost if the PTC is not extended."

A House bill seeking to extend the PTC has 79 cosponsors, including 18 Republicans, and 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, and the Western Governors’ Association. 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,