Wind energy: Pew program director calls PTC ‘wildly successful,’ urges extension

In an article in today’s Huffington Post, Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Clean Energy Program, calls for an extension of the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), which she says has been "wildly successful" in fueling domestic manufacturing of wind energy equipment.

Adds Cuttino, "Transparency, longevity, and consistency–TLC–are critical signals to investors and essential factors to increase American jobs, support businesses, and create renewable power. While we dither, other countries are moving ahead, providing strong policy signals and incentivizing the growth of the clean energy sector in their countries. Even oil-rich Saudi Arabia understands the opportunity and has announced its intention to become the ‘kingdom of sustainable energy.’ It also has set an ambitious renewable-energy goal.

"As a result of our indecision, America could again lose its leadership position in a sector that we helped invent, innovate, and engineer."

Noting extensive bipartisan support for the credit, Cuttino urges its extension now, rather than in a lame-duck session of Congress following the election, or in 2013.

Globally, the wind power industry has grown by 600 percent since 2004, Cuttino says, and with America global leadership stake, the time for Congress to act is now.

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,