News roundup: Extenders on Senate agenda, wind grows in Kansas, Illinois touts clean energy jobs

20 March 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

Today’s roundup includes news that several important tax extenders, including the PTC, may make a comeback in April, Kansas wind power is surging forward, and Illinois has 95,000+ workers in clean energy jobs.

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee is ready to have a look at restoring the PTC in the near future, giving Chairman Ron Wyden his first test on the committee since taking the chair last month:

  • The U.S. Senate Finance Committee probably will vote during the week of March 31 to revive dozens of tax breaks that expired Dec. 31, said a Democratic aide to the panel.
  • …[B]reaks include the production tax credit for wind energy and a tax credit for manufacturers of energy-efficient appliances such as Whirlpool Corp.
  • The panel hasn’t decided whether to extend the breaks through the end of 2014 or 2015, said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing the committee’s yet-to-be-announced plans. Wyden’s proposal probably will exclude or refine some of the 55 breaks, the aide said, with a goal to produce a bipartisan bill.

Kansas continues to set the example as a wind power hub, but the Sunflower State still has a long way to go to unlock its full potential:

  • After installing the second most new wind capacity in the United States in 2013, following on the third most in 2012, Kansas has blown past a number of states in its percentage of electricity generated from wind.
  • According to the latest data from the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, Kansas utilities received 19.4 percent of their total electrical generation from wind power in 2013.
  • That ranked Kansas third nationally, behind only Iowa and South Dakota, which had 27 and 26 percent, respectively. The state’s goal was 20 percent by 2020.
  • When measured by the total amount of its power generated by wind, Kansas ranked sixth in the nation, with 9,430 gigawatt hours (GWh) generated in 2013, according to data from AWEA. That’s enough electricity to power some 870,000 homes, AWEA reported.

A new report by a collection of clean energy and environmental groups shows that Illinois has more than 95,000 clean energy jobs in the state, with 28 percent in renewable power sources:

  • Clean Jobs Illinois™ offers an in-depth look at clean energy employment in Illinois. It is based on data from survey research conducted by BW Research Partnership, a national leader in workforce and economic development research. Clean Jobs Illinois™ affirms that the state’s clean energy industry is a significant employer and an economic engine with tremendous potential for continued growth.
  • These are good jobs making Illinois' economy more productive and competitive and delivering energy that is secure, clean and affordable.
  • From a policy perspective, employers noted the following as areas of importance in terms of growing their clean energy businesses in Illinois:
    • Maintaining a strong renewable energy standard, known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard in Illinois
    • Creating stronger incentives and rebates for clean energy investment
    • Implementing regulations on traditional fuel sources, including for greenhouse gas emissions

Be sure to check out this week’s other roundups:

Sources:

Richard Rubin, “Tax-Break Revival Said to Get U.S. Senate Committee Vote.” Bloomberg. 19 March 2014.

John Green, “Wind grows as power source in Kansas.” Hutchinson News. 19 March 2014.

Staff, “Clean Jobs Illinois: An In-Depth Look at Clean Energy Employment in Illinois.” Report. 19 March 2014.