Wind power: Congress ‘not doing job’ on PTC extension

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) appeared on Fox News Tuesday to argue the case for an extension of the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), saying of Congress, "We’re just not doing our job. We need to get after it."

Added Mr. Bennet, "I think that in the overall scheme of things in Washington where the place… (has) really become, I call it ‘the land of flickering lights’, because the standard of the success there is where we kept the lights on for another two months, and kept the government running for another two months."

Mr. Bennet is a cosponsor of legislation introduced in March by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to extend the wind credit. If Congress fails to extend the PTC, thousands of jobs could be lost in Colorado, which has become a wind turbine manufacturing center over the past several years.

American wind power has generated $15 billion to $20 billion a year in private investment over the past five years, in the process becoming one of the fastest growing U.S. manufacturing industries. But with the tax credit that is wind power’s primary policy driver set to expire at the end of the year, the supply chain is already feeling the uncertainty, and layoffs have now begun.

A recent study by Navigant Consulting found that extending the Production Tax Credit for wind energy will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration would kill 37,000 jobs within a year.

The PTC provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of electricity production from utility-scale turbines. It is set to expire on Dec. 31.

A House bill seeking to extend the PTC has 93 cosponsors, including 21 Republicans, while the Grassley-Udall Senate bill to extend it was introduced March 15 by seven Senators, including three Republicans. PTC extension efforts have 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, 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,