Wind Power: Small business bill stalls; PTC extension not considered

A bipartisan effort by three U.S. Senators to have an extension of the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) considered by the full Senate was thwarted yesterday, when the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act (S. 2237) failed to receive enough votes to move forward.

Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) had filed a proposed amendment to the bill that would have extended the PTC for two years, but since the bill will not be debated, the amendment will not be considered.

In a letter late yesterday, AWEA’s Chris Chwastyk, Vice President for Federal Legislative Affairs, told PTC supporters, "We very much appreciate your efforts to reach out to your Senators about an amendment that had great potential to give the wind industry the certainty it needs to continue to grow its American manufacturing base and invest in clean, affordable, homegrown wind power. It is crucial that Members of Congress continue to hear from their constituents that the PTC extension is a pressing concern."

The amendment would also have extended the wind energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for two years.

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,