Wind power: Calls for PTC extension

A series of news articles over the weekend highlighted the thoughts of three individuals from Nevada, Michigan and Montana on the issue.

In Nevada, Jim Walker, who lives in Henderson, Nev., and serves on the board of wind farm developer enXco, commented, "I know at least a couple of projects up in northern Nevada that are being developed that are probably a couple hundred million dollars of investment, which means a lot of construction jobs in the next year or two–and the construction industry is one that really needs some support in the state."

Meanwhile, Don Schurr, president of Greater Gratiot Development, a non-profit that works on economic development in Michigan, noted that the cost of wind power has been coming down, and said failing to extend the PTC due to low natural gas prices would be short sighted: "Wind energy and natural gas will have a relative parity. If we don’t make the stuff here, they’re going to bring it in from China. They’re going to bring it in from wherever it’s necessary. Why don’t we do it?"

Gordon Brittan, a Montana resident who installed that state’s first wind turbine and remains active in wind development, quoted his Congressman, Denny Rehberg (R): "Congressman … Rehberg told me the other day, he said, ‘We just can’t walk off a cliff.’ And that’s what we’d be doing if we ended the production tax credit from one day to the next."

A House bill seeking to extend the PTC has 90 cosponsors, including 20 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, while a Senate bill to extend it was introduced March 15 by seven Senators, including three Republicans. A PTC extension also has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Governors Association, and the bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, which includes 23 Republican and Democratic Governors from across the U.S. A PTC extension has been endorsed by a number of newspapers across the country, including the Houston Chronicle, The New York Times, the Denver Post, and the Daily Oklahoman.

Tom Gray,