Wind farm: Sen. Mark Udall goes to bat for PTC extension

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) announced yesterday that he will make speeches daily on the Senate floor urging an extension of the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and helping to raise awareness of the wind power industry’s economic importance in many states across the nation.

According to the Pueblo (Colo.) Chieftain, Udall told reporters in a press conference call, "This ought to be a no-brainer … Without this tax credit, we’ll be outsourcing these jobs to China or somewhere else."

In a news release, Udall expanded on his thoughts about the wind incentive: ""It is one thing for Congress to take the time to consider a new proposal and have an open, honest debate, but the Production Tax Credit is widely supported, will create jobs and has already helped our economy grow. Until Congress acts, businesses here and across the country will shed jobs and take our economy backward. Americans have had it with dysfunction and inaction on Capitol Hill. It is unacceptable for Congress not to pass this common-sense and badly needed piece of legislation. I plan to remind my colleagues of that every morning until the Production Tax Credit passes."

Udall said he plans to discuss the need for the PTC, how it affects each state, and the implications of failing to pass an extension.

The PTC has helped attract clean energy businesses to invest in the United States, including Vestas, which created almost 2,000 jobs in Colorado with new manufacturing facilities in Pueblo, Windsor and Brighton. With Congress failing to act on the Production Tax Credit, investors have held back millions of dollars in capital and declined to make any new commitments–which is set to cost Colorado and the nation thousands of jobs throughout the wind energy sector.

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 101 cosponsors, including 23 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,