Wind Farm: Boulder Chamber of Commerce backs PTC extension

The Boulder (Colo.) Chamber of Commerce has announced its support for an extension of the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), noting that the PTC "has driven more than $10]20 billion in private sector investment [nationally] in each of the past three years."

The Chamber’s statement came in the context of a recent energy roundtable, sponsored by the group along with the Boulder Economic Council and the University of Colorado-Boulder, at which Dr. David Danielson, Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), joined Boulder business leaders.

The Boulder Chamber said it has a history of "clean energy innovation and entrepreneurship," and pointed to its participation as a founding member in Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, a national network that currently includes 192 chambers from 47 states, representing 175,000 local businesses.

The roundtable took place in the University of Colorado Boulder’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum-certified Center for Community. Solar panels, LED (light-emitting diode) lighting, energy-saving appliances, solar]reflective roof shingles, an evaporative cooling system, and other elements enable the building to use 30 percent less energy and water than comparable modern buildings. The Center for Community is CU]Boulder’s second platinum]rated building. Eight structures on the campus are LEED gold rated and another has a silver designation.

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,