Friday, September 07, 2012

Conservatives Groups Call For End To Wind Production Tax Credit

Sep 6: A coalition of 64 organizations, led by the Koch brothers-backed group, Americans for Prosperity and including the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, Freedom Action, National Taxpayers Union, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Informed Citizens of Michigan, Great Lakes Wind Truth, US; and others have sent a letter to House and Senate members expressing their strong opposition to extending the federal Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC). The letter indicates:
"The principal federal support for wind energy, the so-called Production Tax Credit (PTC), is scheduled to expire at the end of this year. The undersigned organizations and the millions of Americans we represent stand opposed to extending the wind PTC. This special provision continues the deplorable practice of using the tax code to favor certain groups over others.
"Whenever the government protects a particular industry, as it has with wind energy production, the industry tends to remain dependent on it. As Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman noted, 'The infant industry argument is a smoke screen. The so-called infants never grow up.' The wind PTC, like other green energy incentives, is a prime case in point. The PTC was created in 1992 to get the wind industry off the ground. Yet 20 years later, we have little to show for it. We're still providing a $5 billion special tax break each year for an industry that supplies just over 2% of our power.
"If a new technology truly has worthwhile benefits for American consumers such as lower cost, higher efficiency, or environmental benefits, then that technology will demonstrate its value by competing in the open market for consumers' dollars -- not by living off of special provisions in the tax code. American consumers—not Washington lawmakers—should decide the future of American energy.
"It is time to end special tax provisions that distort the energy market and increase energy prices. We urge you to let the wasteful wind PTC expire as planned at the end of the year."
        As WIMS has previously reported there are clear differences between President Obama and Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney on the issue of wind energy and the continuation of the PTC [See WIMS 8/1/12]. Mitt Romney indicated he would, "allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits. . . Wind energy will thrive wherever it is economically competitive, and wherever private sector competitors with far more experience than the President believe the investment will produce results." The President, who favors continuing the wind energy PTC indicates, ". . .windmills aren't imaginary. Wind energy is a real job creator and energy producer. . . wind energy is an emerging industry that's producing next-generation good-paying, manufacturing, middle-class jobs."
    In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, American Farm Bureau, and Edison Electric Institute are among over 400 organizations and companies endorsing the PTC extension. An article, published in The Hill on Sep. 6, cited by the Governors' Wind Energy Coalition (GWEC) indicates that, Peter Kelley, spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), said "it is not a surprise" that AFP came out against the incentive. "We don't think it makes any difference. They were opposed to us before, they're still opposed to us and we're still going to win this fight." Kelley said the $5 billion figure the conservative groups used was "unrealistically high," and that the uncertainty surrounding the incentive ensures wind installations will decline next year.
    Access the letter and list of signers from the conservative groups (click here). Access the release from the GWEC (click here). Access a second release from GWEC indicating Paul Ryan's support of the Romney position (click here). Access the summary of bipartisan support from AWEA and facts about wind energy (click here). Access the Sierra Club statement (click here). Access the AWEA website for more information (click here). [#Energy/Wind, #Energy/Renewable]
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