As Congress considers extensions of tax policies used by a variety of businesses, it is crucial that the renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) be extended at least through 2015 as included in the EXPIRE Act, passed unanimously on a bipartisan basis by the Senate Finance Committee in April, AWEA says.
“We call on all clean energy supporters in Congress and the White House to work to pass a two-year extension of these critical tax policies,” says Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “The three-week extension being considered by the House does not provide the certainty and stability needed to keep U.S. factories open and keep workers on the job. And if you think otherwise, try telling that to the American workers who will be laid off starting in January.”
“A three-week extension kills jobs and provides businesses little ability to create the jobs we want to create,” he adds.
When the PTC expired in 2013, new wind installations came to a halt, resulting in a 92% drop in new wind projects compared to 2012 and a $23 billion drop in private investment in the U.S. economy. Nearly 30,000 American jobs were lost. Similar job losses would be expected to occur unless an extension through at least 2015 is passed.
“A multi-year PTC phase-out was reportedly discussed last week. A phase-out of sufficient length and design that provides an appropriate glide path is something that could also work for the wind industry. AWEA welcomes analyzing any proposal that is long-term and fair,” says Kiernan.
The PTC has allowed the wind industry to compete with other energy sources that have been subsidized for decades, driving private investment, domestic manufacturing and rural economic development for the U.S. Wind energy now provides over 4% of U.S. electricity, powering over 18 million homes nationwide, according to AWEA statistics.
For many rural areas, wind has delivered needed economic development—landowners, including many family farmers and ranchers, now receive about $180 million in annual lease payments for hosting wind farms.
Today, over 500 factories across 43 states manufacture for the wind energy industry. These factories provide well-paying jobs for American workers. Any disruption in the PTC now would increase the cost of future wind projects, and erase much of the progress in creating this new U.S. manufacturing sector, says AWEA.
A national poll released last week found 73% of American voters support continuing the Production Tax Credit, including a wide majority of Republicans.
The results showed unwavering support among registered voters since a poll conducted last December by USA Today, Stanford University, and Resources for the Future, which also found 73% support for the tax incentives that encourage private investment in clean energy.
Read excerpts from the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition’s letter to the House:
Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition sends letter to House regarding PTC and ITC extension
Filed Under: News, Policy