Keep wind power incentives in place


The San Antonio Express-News today endorsed an extension of the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC).

Said the Express-News editorial in part:

“The Obama administration wants to extend the incentives, and the issue has become an election-year football. But Congress should act prior to the November election.  The administration reported that the wind power industry supports 75,000 American jobs, and the report showed that 67 percent of new wind turbine equipment used last year was domestically produced. Only 35 percent of the equipment was made domestically in 2006. The federal report cited $14 billion in wind energy investments last year …

“The industry has done particularly well in Texas. The Houston Chronicle noted that growth slowed in the state last year, but Texas remains the top producing state. The federal report found that Texas can generate 7.3 percent of its electricity with wind … The investment in wind power is smart long-term policy because it provides clean energy and diversifying generation helps utilities mitigate the problems created by excessive reliance on one or two sources.”

With its endorsement, the newspaper joins a long and growing list of publications nationwide that have formally announced their support for continuing the PTC.  In just the past two weeks, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register, the Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald, the Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), and the Bakersfield Californian have all urged Congress to extend the provision.

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 wind 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 110 cosponsors, including 25 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,