Sen. Chuck Grassley: Extend wind tax credit

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Last week, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley released a video expressing his support for the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit and urging Congress to extend the tax benefit rather than let it expire this year.

“This production tax credit for wind is working and should be part of the effort in Washington here to get more Americans working as well,” Grassley said in the video. “Certainty about tax policy and affordable energy are factors for economic growth.”

In particular, Grassley focused on the employment and national security aspects of the wind PTC.

“As much energy as possible, both traditional and renewable, should be produced at home to create jobs and strengthen national security rather than relying so much on oil imports,” Grassley said.

Grassley also claimed that without the wind PTC extension, wind power would be the only energy source not subsidized by the federal government.

“The wind industry misjudged the market, overproduced, and now is facing a contraction even if the production tax credit is extended,” American Energy Alliance president Thomas J. Pyle told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email.

“Another year of the production tax credit will do little to help workers, but everything to put more money in the pockets of Big Wind,” Pyle continued. “Senator Grassley complains that ending the PTC will mean that wind energy is the only source not receiving government support. That sounds like a good start to us.”

Last month, the American Energy Alliance signed a joint letter from 88 conservative groups to Congress urging that the wind PTC be allowed to expire.

“American consumers — not Washington lawmakers — should decide the future of American energy,” reads the letter, which was also signed by groups such as Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Action, the National Taxpayers Union, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Club for Growth.

In June, a group of freshman House members sent a letter in June to the Republican leadership to work to extend the wind PTC. The letter was signed by a bipartisan group including Republican Reps. Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Rick Berg of North Dakota.

Forty-seven Republicans in the House, including Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, wrote a letter in September to House Speaker John Boehner asking him to allow the wind PTC to expire.

The federal wind Production Tax Credit was put into place in 1992 to get the wind industry on its feet, and has since been renewed seven times. Extending the wind PTC for just one year would cost $12.1 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Republicans have been split on the issue of extension.

The Energy Information Administration estimates that even without government subsidies, wind generation will still increase 50 percent from 2011 to 2035.

Standard & Poor’s estimated there will be up to $150 billion in renewable energy investment opportunities — largely in wind power development — in the next 10 years, even without the wind PTC is not renewed development.

There is currently a House bill with 118 bipartisan cosponsors to extend the wind PTC. In August, Grassley’s bill to extend the wind tax credit passed out of committee.

“The Wind Energy Production Tax Credit is tax relief that rewards results,” Grassley said. “There’s no reason to exacerbate America’s unemployment problem by letting this successful incentive lapse.”

“Chuck Grassley shouldn’t blame this inevitable market correction on taxpayers who can no longer afford $12 billion in giveaways to powerful special interests in the wind industry,” Pyle said. “Telling taxpayers they should continue to borrow billions of dollars for wind subsidies at a time when our nation is throttling toward a fiscal cliff is both immoral and greedy.”

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