Iowa newspaper endorses wind power PTC extension

The West Branch (Iowa) Times Friday joined a steadily growing number of newspapers across the country in endorsing an extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit (PTC), commenting that "… [Wind] companies need to build more turbines and create more profit to be able to afford to expand at a significant rate."

Added the Times, "The House Ways and Means Committee needs to move on HR 3307 [a bill to extend the PTC], get it to the House floor and onward to the Senate and White House, giving alternative energy companies the stability and certainty investors greatly desire … [T]he PTC, in place since 1992, has been working. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in 1999, America had only 15 states with the ability to produce up to 2,472 megawatts of electricity. In 2011, that increased to 39 states producing 46,919 MW …

"U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley, R, and Tom Harkin, D, of Iowa joined in a statement with other senators which points out that in the past five years, 35 percent of new electric generation in the United States [has come] from wind."

"Of all the alternative energy possibilities, including hydro and solar, wind is the least expensive to produce. But companies need to build more turbines and create more profit to be able to afford to expand at a significant rate … The U.S. Congress needs to act on the PTC to extend it through 2016."

West Branch has some firsthand experience with the benefits flowing from wind power and the PTC–it’s home to a $30 million Acciona wind turbine assembly plant, installed in 2007.

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 sponsored by Sen. Grassley 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,