Wind Farm: Toledo Blade becomes latest newspaper to endorse PTC extension

The Toledo (Ohio) Blade yesterday became the most recent in a series of newspapers around the country endorsing an extension of the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), the primary incentive that has encouraged the wind power industry’s growth over the past decade.

The Blade’s endorsement came in the form of a "Guest Editorial" from the New York Times–the Blade’s policy is to reprint editorials that reflect its views.

The editorial calls wind power a "case in point" for a federal incentive program that has been successful: "By spurring innovation and growth, a federal production tax credit for wind amounting to 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour has brought the cost of electricity from wind power to a point where it is broadly competitive with natural gas, sustaining 75,000 jobs in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance. But the credit is scheduled to expire this year, with potentially disastrous results: a 75 percent reduction in new investment and a big drop in jobs. That is just about what happened the last time the credit was allowed to lapse, in 2003."

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 unless Congress extends it first. A recent study by Navigant Consulting found that extending the Production Tax Credit 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.

A House bill seeking to extend the PTC has 97 cosponsors, including 21 Republicans, while a 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,