Bipartisan support for the production tax credit continues to pour in from around the country. This week, the National Governor’s Association sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to extend key tax credits for wind and other renewables.
Citing the need to stimulate new types of economic activity and maintain job growth in the clean energy sector, the bi-partisan organization called for a four-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC):
Predictable tax policies provide a foundation for renewable energy development and can play an important role in our nation’s economic recovery. Therefore we are encouraging an extension of the both the PTC and ITC for at least 4 years. These tax credits can continue to encourage robust investment and deployment of renewable technologies by affording industry a reliable investment framework within which to operate.
Also adding to the public call for an extension of wind tax credits were the commissioners of Wheatland County, Montana. Wheatland County is a very conservative area of the country. According to one clean energy campaigner, getting these commissioners to write the public statement is “deeply encouraging” and shows “there are still elected officials with common sense.”
With the help of the additional taxes from the Judith Gap Wind Farm, Wheatland County has benefited greatly. We have a new county shop and fire hall, a great tax base as well as a grant program that benefits nonprofit organizations in our county.
The potential for more wind farms is in jeopardy if the U.S. Congress does not vote to extend federal tax incentives such as the Federal Production Tax Credit. Support is needed from Sen. Max Baucus, Sen. John Tester and Rep. Dennis Rehberg as well as the Montana public to ensure progress continues and that Montana meets its full potential.
These are two in a long series of letters written by conservative and progressive politicians in favor of clean energy tax credits.
The PTC provides project owners with a credit of 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced. It will expire at the end of this year. Since tax credits were introduced for the wind industry, they have stimulated tens of billions of dollars in private investment and helped drive the cost of wind down by 90%. However, with natural gas prices at historic (and unsustainable) lows, an expiration of the credit would freeze the industry overnight — potentially killing 37,000 jobs.
Meanwhile, even though the top five oil companies brought in $137 billion in profits last year, they still receive billions in U.S. tax breaks each year — with many of those credits permanently imbedded in the tax code.
At the end of last month, 47 Senators voted against the PTC while voting in favor for keeping $24 billion in tax cuts for oil companies.
Let’s be honest: It is a national scandal that lawmakers in Congress continue to vote against tax credits for wind — threatening 37,000 American jobs and preventing the country from taking the slightest steps forward on addressing climate change — while keeping in place tax credits for oil and gas.
Congress needs to listen up to the loud bipartisan chorus calling for support of wind.