CEO cites wind power’s benefits in urging PTC extension

Notes Mr. Rucker, "Jobs is one of [the benefits]. A four-year extension of the tax credit is expected to create another 25,000 jobs by 2016. Without the tax credit, we’ll lose jobs.

"Cheaper energy is another benefit. Wind-power prices have dropped 90 percent in the past 30 years, making wind the least expensive form of electricity in some parts of the country. Prices are expected to fall further if we don’t stall the industry’s growth. Moreover, the fact that wind power’s fuel comes for free insulates consumers against significant rate hikes. Anyone paying almost $4 a gallon these days because we’re limited to one choice in automobile fuel — gasoline — can appreciate that.

"Emissions-free wind power also makes our air cleaner, helping prevent asthma, heart attacks and respiratory problems. Local economies benefit from royalties paid to property owners who host turbines, and millions in tax dollars that go to schools and other vital services."

The PTC and Ohio’s renewable energy standard, Rucker adds, have made the Buckeye State a popular place for the wind power industry to do business, with 100 companies in the industry’s supply chain employing an estimated 7,500 workers. Unfortunately, he continues, recent efforts in Columbus to weaken the renewable energy standard are forcing Juwi to look more seriously at doing business elsewhere, and Congress’s delay in extending the PTC is causing uncertainty that hampers the industry nationwide: "[L]et’s support smart public policies such as the production tax credit and the state’s renewable energy standard–good ideas that are already working for all of us."

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 22 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, the Daily Oklahoman, and the Toledo Blade.

Tom Gray,