Wind Farm: Pueblo Chieftain backs Udall on PTC campaign

In a recent editorial, the Pueblo (Colo.) Chieftain newspaper repeated its support for an extension of the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and praised Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who has launched a campaign of speeches on the floor of the U.S. Senate urging extension of the incentive. (See Sen. Udall’s appeal to Coloradans on the issue here.)

Commented the Chieftain, "The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the wind credit in April and its supporters–Democrats and Republicans–were told that House Republicans probably will move on the credit later this year, after the November election. But that leaves a big question mark for the industry in the meantime.

"The credit goes not to the producers of the equipment like [wind turbine manufacturer] Vestas but to the producers’ customers — utilities that generate power for communities around the nation …

"In the grand scheme of the federal budget, the wind tax credit is hardly a blip on the fiscal radar. In order to keep this industry going until it can become fully competitive, we urge Congress to move now on extending this program."

The story of Pueblo is the story of many communities across America where the wind power industry has brought new manufacturing jobs and hope to workers in challenging economic times. For more on how wind power has helped revitalize Pueblo, see Wind technology brings jobs to Pueblo, a report from Colorado Public Radio.

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,