White House energy advisor Heather Zichal also supported the credit at the energy forum, saying, "You have the Chamber of Commerce, you have all the environmental community, you have Karl Rove, you have my boss supporting the extension of that tax credit. We also know if we don’t get that extension, the wind industry faces a significant cliff and we’re going to see layoffs. We’re starting to see them today because of the uncertainty." With its strong bipartisan support, Zichal said, the PTC is "the perfect example of what we can pass today, something we can do to ensure that America is leading the race to be the global leader in clean energy development."
In related news, after a closed-door Senate Finance Committee discussion last week, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) indicated the PTC and other expiring tax provisions are being held as leverage to renew the George W. Bush tax cuts, which are also expiring. Grassley, a strong PTC supporter who has introduced legislation to extend the credit, said he doesn’t believe Senate Republicans will go along with a proposal by Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to take them up separately. Cornyn concurred, telling E&E Daily, "I can’t imagine they would have them separately … For those who want to see continuation of current tax rates, that makes no sense. We’d be giving up leverage that would allow us to accomplish our goals, so I don’t see that happening."
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 105 cosponsors, including 24 Republicans, while a similar Senate bill is cosponsored 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, www.awea.org/blog/