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Debunking the latest spin from the anti-wind lobby


BY JIM REILLY. Thomas Pyle’s group is funded by the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel interests working against wind power. So, it’s no wonder that he opposes the key incentive for this energy source. Pyle’s latest spin that a bill to retroactively change the rules for this incentive is a “compromise,” however, is audacious — even for him.

The Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable energy provides upfront federal tax relief that allow companies to compete with other energy sources that have been subsidized with permanent incentives for nearly a century. This allows them to build projects that bring millions of dollars of added tax revenue to communities to improve schools, roads and other infrastructure, and provide millions more in lease payments to farmers, ranchers and other landowners. Equipped with this tax credit, wind energy helps keep electricity prices affordable and stable for consumers. That is because — unlike other energy sources that have volatile fuel prices — wind’s “fuel” is free, helping keep utility bills low, even when demand spikes.
Yet several representatives have proposed a retroactive tax increase with a bill that would not only eliminate the PTC going forward, but would also reduce the value of the credit for companies by revoking adjustments for inflation already signed into law and changing the rules regarding how existing projects qualify for the credit. Signed contracts responsible for billions of dollars of economic activity would be abrogated if this effort became law. To be clear: this bill is an extremist plan that would be detrimental to the 73,000 American workers in the wind industry.
AWEA, the American Wind Energy Association, continues to support an extension of the Production Tax Credit that provides a glide path ensuring that wind energy development does not fall off a cliff. Our position has not changed, but a small group of Representatives are attempting to change the rules for an industry that has benefitted many of their constituents. This uncertainty is bad for business and id unfair to the men and women working to deliver 21st century energy.
Policymakers already know what Charles and David Koch think. But those two individuals and the groups such as Pyle’s that they support are far outnumbered. Pyle references a “recent poll” to claim that Americans oppose tax incentives for wind energy. In fact, even this poll from Pyle’s own group found that the majority of respondents favored the Production Tax Credit. Polls by USA TODAY and others have consistently found that more than 70 per cent of Americans favor this tax credit – including wide majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
Here’s why: Stable, pro-growth tax policy is vital if the US wind energy industry is to keep developing more efficient technology, creating new American manufacturing jobs and attracting more than $100 billion since 2008 to the US economy. A multi-year PTC would provide the wind industry with the policy certainty needed to continue scaling up and creating benefits for local economies across the US. This American policy is a performance-based incentive that leads to market-driven results.
A loss of $23 billion to our economy and nearly 30,000 well-paying jobs resulted during the last time Congress didn’t provide wind power with policy stability — causing wind installations to drop 92 per cent the following year (2013).
Investing in homegrown wind power is a good deal for America. With the Production Tax Credit now expired once again, Congress should heed the will of their constituents and extend it for the longest practical term.
Jim Reilly is senior vice president of Federal Legislative Affairs at the American Wind Energy Association.
Source: The Hill Congress Blog: Forum for Lawmakers and Policy Professionals


Posted 15/05/2015 by Reg Tucker

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