Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), and 40 veterans–many of whom have found post-military careers in the wind energy industry–joined Wednesday for a Capitol Hill news conference to urge that an extension of the production tax credit for wind energy (PTC) be included in year-end legislation to continue as many as 60 expiring tax provisions. The lawmakers and veterans came together around one message to Congress: Stop delaying the extension of the wind PTC and secure American jobs and energy security now.
“The production tax credit for wind is working and should be part of the effort in Washington to help get more Americans – and more veterans – working,” Mr. Grassley said. “Certainty about tax policy and affordable energy are factors for economic growth, and as much energy as possible – both traditional and renewable – should be produced at home to create jobs and strengthen economic and national security. There’s no reason to exacerbate the unemployment problem by letting this successful incentive lapse.”
“Extending the wind Production Tax Credit is one of the most straightforward ways we can support Made-in-America energy and American manufacturing jobs. We need the PTC to help create more good-paying jobs here at home, including jobs for our veterans who are transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce,” Mr. Udall said. “These men and women proudly served our country in uniform, and now, they are working to move America toward a cleaner and more secure energy future. The opponents of extending the PTC are treating our energy security – and ultimately our national security – as a political football. The bipartisan and bicameral showing at the press conference today proves that we have the wind at our backs in building a clean energy future – we can’t afford to put off the wind PTC extension any longer.”
The wind PTC is due to expire at the end of this year unless Congress renews it. Without renewal, thousands of good-paying, middle-class jobs and our energy security will be jeopardized. Americans of all stripes, including veterans, have benefited from the job opportunities and growth created by the wind energy industry. The lawmakers’ call on the Senate to quickly extend the PTC comes as Environment Colorado highlighted how wind energy is a critical part of our nation’s renewable energy portfolio, reduces carbon emissions and strengthens our energy security.
In August, the Senate Finance Committee, with a bipartisan vote, passed an amendment authored by Mr. Grassley to extend the wind energy production tax credit. Legislation in the House of Representatives to extend the production tax credit for wind has 118 cosponsors, both Democrats and Republicans.
Mr. Grassley authored the production tax credit for wind when it was first passed, and has worked since then to extend the successful policy. Mr. Udall has been a vocal proponent for the PTC, speaking nearly every day the Senate has been in session to urge his colleagues to extend the credit and secure made-in-America energy and the jobs it creates.
Mr. Grassley noted that the PTC is available only when wind energy is produced–there’s no benefit for simply placing the turbine in the ground. “It’s tax relief that rewards results,” Grassley said. The PTC was created to try to level the playing field with coal-fired and nuclear electricity generation. If the wind incentive is allowed to lapse on December 31, wind energy would be the only form of energy generation without any federal incentive.
Nationwide, wind energy production supports 75,000 jobs. In Iowa, the wind energy industry employs nearly 5,000 full-time workers, with a number of major wind manufacturing facilities. Iowa generates 20 percent of its electricity needs from wind, and wind energy powers the equivalent of a million homes. Almost 3,000 utility-scale turbines in Iowa generate lease payments to landowners worth $12.5 million every year.
Operation Free is a campaign of the Truman National Security Project and a national coalition of U.S. military veterans working to send the message that America’s security relies on ending our addiction to oil and establishing clean, renewable sources of energy.
The PTC is an incentive that reduces taxes on the operators of wind farms and leaves more of the money they earn from electricity sales in private hands, helping to attract private investment not only in wind projects, but in component manufacturers, suppliers, trucking companies and more. The PTC provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of electricity production from utility-scale wind turbines. It 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.
A House bill seeking to extend the PTC has 119 cosponsors, including 25 Republicans, while a similar Senate bill is cosponsored by seven Senators, including three Republicans. PTC extension efforts have received the endorsement of a broad coalition of more than 370 members, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Western Governors’ Association. A PTC extension also has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Governors Association, and the bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, which includes 23 Republican and Democratic Governors from across the U.S. A PTC extension has been endorsed by a number of newspapers across the country, including the Des Moines Register, the Denver Post, the Daily Oklahoman, the Toledo Blade, the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Chicago Sun-Times, and The New York Times.