Wind power: Pioneering community college hopes for PTC extension soon

Columbia Gorge Community College, in The Dalles, Ore., is hoping for an extension of the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), according to a Public News Service article.

The college, which was one of the first in the U.S. to develop a training course for wind energy technicians, is seeing a drop-off in the number of new applications “because the perception is out there that the nation is not behind renewable energy,” said college development director Dan Spatz, adding, “It has been 5, 6, 7 years or longer where we’ve been going on year-to-year renewals, and we need to have more than that. Certainly, this is a tough year to get anything done, it appears, but I think it’s deeper and broader than that. We need that bipartisan vision that really is separate from any election year.”

Oregon currently has about 3,000 wind-related jobs, but the chilling effect of uncertainty relating to an impending expiration of the PTC has been spreading through the wind power industry.

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,