The wind power industry may have just won another year of taxpayer support, as the fiscal cliff deal being negotiated between congressional Republicans and President Obama includes a one-year extension of the wind Production Tax Credit.
“Extending the wind Production Tax Credit is a long-overdue dose of certainty for manufacturers who employ more than 5,000 Coloradans and 60,000 workers across America,” said Colorado Democrat Sen. Mark Udall, one of the main proponents of extending the tax credit.
“Although this deal is not perfect, I am glad my colleagues have acknowledged what I have spoken about regularly on the Senate floor: Wind energy creates jobs and benefits every American,” Udall said. “I look forward to continuing to lead the fight for our wind industry and an all-of-the-above energy policy in 2013.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office, extensions of energy tax benefits will cost more than $10.3 billion over five years and more than $18.1 billion over ten years. The Joint Committee on Taxation reported that a one-year extension of the wind PTC alone would cost $12.1 billion.
The federal wind Production Tax Credit was implemented in 1992 to get the wind industry on its feet, and has since been renewed seven times. The tax credit extension divided Republicans on Capitol Hill.
In September, forty-seven House Republicans sent a letter in September to House Speaker John Boehner urging him to allow the wind PTC to expire.
“We believe that the Solyndra scandal has demonstrated that it is time for the federal government to stop picking winners and losers in the energy marketplace,” the letter said. “Twenty years of subsidizing wind is more than enough.”
According to Forbes, the wind PTC and state-level green energy “renewable portfolio standards” set by 29 states have caused the wind industry to grow rapidly — comprising almost 40 percent of all the new electricity capacity added since 2007.
Wind power currently generates about 3.5 percent of electricity in the U.S.
“This is not the deal I would have written, but we cannot ignore the need to protect taxpayers, businesses and our fragile economy from the destructive effects of the fiscal cliff,” said Udall, in regards to the fiscal cliff deal. “When Congress reconvenes in 2013, I will continue to push for a bipartisan deal on the deficit that grows our economy and responsibly reforms the federal government.”
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