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Fact check: Congressional candidate misfires on energy policy

Fact check: Congressional candidate misfires on energy policy

The following letter to the editor of the Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal was not published.

A Sept. 7 story (“Arnold-Jones:  Energy Independence Within Next Five Years”) reports that 1st Congressional District  Republican candidate Janice Arnold-Jones prefers rolling back regulations on oil and gas production to investments in renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

But the answer isn’t “either/or,” it’s “all-of-the-above.”  We need a full menu of methods to increase energy production that includes the power of wind.

Wind energy is a clean, abundant, and affordable source of energy—and it is available and deployable now.  An assessment by the U.S. Department of Energy under the George W. Bush Administration concluded that wind power could supply 20% of the nation’s electricity needs by 2030.

The renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) helps keep electricity rates low and encourage development of proven renewable energy projects. The PTC has enabled the wind industry to lower the cost of wind power by more than 90%, grow to where it today powers the equivalent of over 12 million American homes, and foster economic development in all 50 states.

But the PTC is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress extends it first. A recent study by Navigant Consulting found that extending the Production Tax Credit will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration would kill 37,000 jobs within a year.
New Mexico’s wind resources could provide nearly 75 times its current electricity needs.  New Mexico ranks 17th in the U.S. in total wind capacity, and wind farms now power the equivalent of 200,000 New Mexico homes.

Investing in wind power only rewards results, and doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime when federal, state, and local taxes paid by the wind industry are counted.  If we’re serious about jobs, economic development and energy independence, we need to increase investment in wind power.

Elizabeth Salerno
Chief Economist
American Wind Energy Association
 

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