Opinion: A vote for an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy

Opinion: A vote for an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy

The following op-ed by AWEA CEO Denise Bode appeared yesterday in Politico.

The results of the 2012 elections represent a paradigm shift in U.S. energy policy.

As the 18th-century English diarist Samuel Johnson said, “the prospect of a hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully.” In the energy field, it was the oil shocks of the 1970s that first focused our attention on the peril of banking our future on fossil fuels alone.

Since then, policy makers, industry leaders and consumers have accelerated development of all energy sources, such as wind power, that help reduce our dependence on foreign energy, create new jobs that can’t be outsourced, and boost local economies.

The result? Voters in last week’s elections endorsed candidates who support an “all-of-the-above” energy policy that promotes a diversified portfolio of energy resources, specifically wind energy and the extension of its primary federal incentive, the Production Tax Credit (PTC).

At the outset of the 2012 presidential campaign, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) partnered with POLITICO to convene an event series called “Energy and the Presidency.” We brought lawmakers, energy experts and key reporters together to discuss how Americans benefit from an all-of-the-above energy strategy.

We convened these panels in Washington, D.C.; in Iowa as the caucus season got underway; and at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, to ensure that energy policy was discussed at the highest level of the current policy debate. And unlike so much of what we heard and read about during the election, these discussions have been truly bipartisan.

The wind industry’s primary incentive, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), has attracted as much support from both congressional Republicans and Democrats as any tax policy that’s come before Congress this year. As former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said at the Energy and the Presidency panel at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, “Global clean energy is the future, and politics is not going to stop that.”

Gov. Richardson shared some statistics to support this view. “By 2016, the global wind market will top $93.1 billion,” he said. “Since 2006, 36 percent of new electric capacity in the U.S. has come from wind energy. And the cost of wind is expected to fall 12 percent in the next 5 years.”

That’s not politics—those are facts. It’s no wonder so many leaders on both sides of the aisle support vital steps towards energy and economic security such as extending the PTC.

Among the dozens of Republican wind champions reelected to Congress, for example, were outspoken House supporters Reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Steve King and Tom Latham (R-Iowa), and Senator-elect Dean Heller (R-Nev.).

Independent Angus King, a wind project developer since leaving the governorship in Maine, won his race for the open Senate seat there.

Swing states with numerous wind farms as well as wind factories went for President Obama, whose campaign took the position that the wind energy Production Tax Credit should be extended. They included Iowa and Colorado — where layoffs have struck wind energy factories because of uncertainty over when Congress will address the tax credit, which expires at the end of this year — and Michigan and Ohio, states important to the wind energy supply chain which also have untapped wind resources under development.

Another key backer of wind energy is Governor Terry Branstad (R-Iowa). At the Energy and the Presidency panel during the Iowa caucuses, Branstad recalled that in 1983 he signed the first renewable energy standard into law, setting a precedent that has now been followed by 28 other states and the District of Columbia.

“Renewable energy is real important to our state,” Branstad told us. “We’re proud to be the leader in wind energy. Wind energy has opened up some great new manufacturing opportunities and also great job opportunities not only in the building of wind farms but also in maintenance.”

As everyone knows who attended our POLITICO panels, or watched them streaming online, wind power can no longer be called “alternative,” since it now is a mainstream source of American electricity.

That’s why it’s so important we don’t turn back the clock on bipartisan support for investment in wind energy production. Why do so many Republicans and Democrats agree on extending the PTC? Because we all want the homegrown, affordable, clean and abundant energy that the power of wind offers. We also want the American wind energy jobs to continue to grow as they have over the past several years.

Congress this week embarks on a lame-duck session that will include action to renew the PTC until all energy incentives are on the table during the corporate tax reform debate expected next year. Failure to extend the PTC would cost 37,000 jobs immediately, and put the brakes on the progress America has made to diversity its electricity portfolio. Wind should not be the only energy source without any federal incentive, as it would be if the PTC is allowed to expire.

Elections are about choices, and it’s clear that in 2012, the American people have chosen candidates who support renewable energy. We don’t have to choose a single path towards our energy future. We can have it all — all of the above.


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 110 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.

Further endorsements of the wind energy production tax credit.

Related articles:

Red State Renewable Alliance forms to broaden support for wind energy, PTC, November 15, 2012
Grassley, governors sound bipartisan theme in urging PTC extension, November 14, 2012
Governors' Wind Energy Coalition pushes for PTC extension with letter, news conference, November 13, 2012
Investor urges PTC extension, calls for level playing field, November 12, 2012
National survey: 60 percent of Americans back tax credits for renewable energy, November 9, 2012
AWEA's view: Wind energy, PTC advance in elections, November 8, 2012
Wind executive: PTC-related layoffs 'not happy experience', November 6, 2012
Colorado: Report confirms health, environmental benefits of wind power, November 5, 2012
Sec. Vilsack: PTC extension needed to avert rural job loss, November 2, 2012
Republican Congressman praises PTC at Colorado wind farm dedication, October 31, 2012
Investors ask Congress to extend wind Production Tax Credit, October 30, 2012
Best of times, worst of times: Renewables contribute all new U.S. generation in September, October 29, 2012
AWEA's Anderson: PTC, wind power have been good for Colorado, October 29, 2012
Lincoln Journal Star: Extend wind tax credit, October 25, 2012
Opinion: Attacks on PTC extension misguided, October 24, 2012
Sen. Bennet: Inaction on PTC 'hurting Colorado families', October 23, 2012
Senate tax chair optimistic about PTC extension, October 22, 2012
Nebraska: New wind farm highlights PTC decision, October 18, 2012
Extending PTC means Ohio jobs, says Buckeye State manufacturer, October 17, 2012
Danko: Wind power's economic benefits argue for PTC extension, October 16, 2012
Texas newspaper: Congress should 'come together' on PTC extension, October 15, 2012
Udall, Bennet urge PTC extension as more Colorado jobs are cut, October 12, 2012
As wind jobs blow away, pressure for PTC extension rises, October 11, 2012
Sen. Nelson: Washington gridlock costs Nebraskans jobs, October 10, 2012
Wash. editorial: Extend PTC, wind farms 'have created economic boom', October 9, 2012
Wind bearing maker to close South Carolina plant, citing PTC delay, October 5, 2012
Mass. Republican, Democrat see wind jobs at risk due to PTC delay, October 4, 2012
Colorado rally seeks extension of Production Tax Credit, October 3, 2012
Tennessee newspaper endorses PTC, October 2, 2012
Winnebago tribal leader calls for PTC extension, October 1, 2012
KC Star: PTC extension 'would be a good move for the nation', September 28, 2012
Oklahoma's Republican governor remains committed to PTC extension, September 26, 2012
Scranton newspaper: Extending PTC 'should be no-brainer', September 25, 2012
Oregon newspaper endorses PTC extension: 'Wind energy has made impressive gains', September 24, 2012
Local Chambers of Commerce urge Congress: Extend critical wind tax credit, September 21, 2012
Moms Clean Air Force blogger urges PTC extension, September 20, 2012
Business leaders urge Congress to extend renewable energy tax credit, September 19, 2012
Wind project shows what's at stake with PTC delay, September 18, 2012
Iowa coalition calls on Congress to renew PTC, September 17, 2012
New round of layoffs underscores urgency of action on PTC, September 13, 2012
NRDC: Typical wind farm supports nearly 1,100 jobs: PTC inaction hurts employment, September 12, 2012
'It's the economy, stupid': Why Iowa needs a wind PTC extension, September 11, 2012
NW Power Council member: Wind is 'important economic driver', September 10, 2012
Pa. state legislator: PTC extension will 'create jobs, support communities', September 6, 2012
Colorado mom: Extending PTC 'not a political issue', September 5, 2012
Philadelphia Inquirer backs extension of wind credit, September 4, 2012
Minnesota newspaper on PTC: 'Uncertainty is a killer', August 24, 2012
Opinion: What critics of wind power's incentive miss, August 23, 2012
Bloomberg endorses extension of PTC, August 22, 2012
Iowa newspaper: 'Don't target wind energy', August 21, 2012
Opinion: For many reasons, Congress should extend tax credit, August 20, 2012
Montana leaders continue wind tradition, support PTC, August 17, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times backs PTC extension, August 16, 2012
San Antonio Express-News: 'Keep wind power incentives in place', August 15, 2012
Clarifying the dollars involved in wind energy's tax credit, August 14, 2012
Iowa newspaper: 'Don't end PTC too soon', August 14, 2012
Iowa newspaper endorses extension of PTC, August 13, 2012
Sen. Grassley: PTC has been 'successful,' should be extended, August 10, 2012
Denver Post calls for quick action on PTC extension, August 8, 2012
Rep. Noem to visit technical school, discuss PTC extension, August 7, 2012
Des Moines Register: 'Wind tax credits should be extended', August 7, 2012
Why extending the PTC is good policy, August 6, 2012
Bipartisan group of Senators urges support for PTC extension, August 3, 2012

PTC advances in U.S. Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, August 3, 2012
FERC chair: Letting PTC expire could have 'devastating' impact, August 2, 2012
Udall's 13th PTC speech examines its impact on Idaho, August 1, 2012
Public opinion watch: New poll: Iowa voters not likely to support anti-wind candidate, July 31, 2012
Wind companies anxiously await PTC extension, July 30, 2012
In 12th address on PTC, Sen. Udall focuses on Illinois, July 27, 2012
Wind energy key for Keystone State, former Pa. official says, June 26, 2012
Thousands of North Carolina jobs at stake as PTC expiration nears, July 25, 2012
More wind industry factory visits, another plea for PTC extension, July 24, 2012
Pioneering community college hopes for PTC extension soon, July 23, 2012
S.D. blade manufacturer sees success imperiled by delay in extending PTC, July 20, 2012
Connecting the dots: PTC uncertainty threatens wind's benefits to Illinois economy, July 19, 2012
Opinion: Renew wind tax credit, July 18, 2012
Why tax credits are critical to wind for growth, July 17, 2012
DOE official: PTC has generated 'innovation, jobs', July 16, 2012
Small business bill stalls; PTC extension not considered, July 13, 2012
Bennet, Moran, Udall continue bipartisan push for wind energy tax credit, July 12, 2012
Steelworkers call for extension of 'vital' PTC, July 11, 2012
Multi-billion-dollar wind farm won't expand in 2013 without PTC extension, July 10, 2012
As Congress delays PTC extension, Gamesa announces furloughs, July 9, 2012
Pew program director calls PTC 'wildly successful,' urges extension, July 6, 2012
S.D. technical school president on edge about PTC extension, July 3, 2012
Boulder Chamber of Commerce backs PTC extension, July 2, 2012
As Congress delays in extending PTC, some wind developers take aim at Canada, June 29, 2012
18 House freshmen, including 16 Republicans, petition leadership for immediate PTC extension, June 28, 2012
Sierra Club's Hamilton backs PTC, American jobs, June 27, 2012
Loebsack receives USA Wind Jobs Champion award, urges PTC extension, June 26, 2012
Bode: Extend wind incentive now, June 25, 2012
Pueblo Chieftain backs Udall on PTC campaign, June 22, 2012
Leading House Republican calls for PTC extension, June 21, 2012
Iraq vet: PTC, wind energy make America safer, June 20, 2012
CEO, environmentalist call for PTC extension, June 19, 2012
Bingaman: Inconsistent U.S. energy policy leads to competitive disadvantage, June 18, 2012
Minnesota's Rep. Walz seeks PTC extension, cites 'homegrown American jobs,' June 15, 2012
Microsoft, Sprint join growing list of companies calling on Congress to extend PTC, June 14, 2012
With daily speeches, Sen. Mark Udall goes to bat for PTC extension, June 13, 2012
Kansas City Star: Gov. Brownback right to call for PTC extension, June 12, 2012
Aberdeen News, Pacific Coast Business Times join call for PTC extension, June 11, 2012
Sierra Club launches 'Wind Works' campaign, June 5, 2012
Fiberglass supplier worries about PTC extension, June 2, 2012
Pennsylvania newspaper joins in growing call for PTC extension, June 1, 2012
Sec. Salazar, Montana Gov. Schweitzer call for PTC extension, May 30, 2012
WindTV: ZF Wind Power's Georgia plant generates gearboxes and jobs, May 29, 2012

PTC extension passes milestone: 100 cosponsors in U.S. House, May 25, 2012

CEO cites wind power's benefits in urging PTC extension, May 24, 2012
As expiration of PTC nears, two major Pennsylvania wind projects cancelled, May 18, 2012
Support tax credit to help Ohio wind industry, May 16, 2012
PTC extension can avert boom and bust, May 15, 2012
Iowa newspaper endorses wind PTC extension, May 14, 2012
Toledo Blade becomes latest newspaper to endorse PTC extension, May 11, 2012
PTC, wind power bring cost savings to Iowa utility customers, May 10, 2012
N.Y. port sees action due to wind power, PTC, May 9, 2012
Tax payments to S.D. counties illustrate impact of wind tax credit, May 8, 2012
PTC extension part of 'all of above' policy, says sponsor Reichert, May 7, 2012
PTC extension: Why the stakes are so much bigger this year, May 4, 2012
Sen. Bennet: Congress 'not doing job' on PTC extension, May 3, 2012
Veterans training co. officer: PTC extension good for vets, economy, May 2, 2012
NW policy group: PTC helps lead to clean energy future, April 30, 2012
Congressman Thompson, veterans, industry experts call for PTC extension, April 27, 2012
Layoffs in U.S. wind power accelerate as Congress fails to act on PTC extension, April 26, 2012
Submit a comment to the House Ways & Means Committee: Extend the PTC immediately!, April 25, 2012
High-tech component manufacturer calls for PTC extension, April 24, 2012
Union leader: Earth Day is also about jobs, and a PTC extension, April 23, 2012
New graphics reveal impact of impending PTC expiration on wind industry, April 20, 2012
'Think globally, act locally': News items underscore PTC and manufacturing jobs, April 19, 2012
Senator Levin visits Michigan wind component maker, urges PTC extension, April 18, 2012
Wind power drives strong interest in U.S. renewable electricity generation, April 17, 2012
WindTV: WINDPOWER in Atlanta, spotlighting PTC expiration risk to manufacturing growth, April 16, 2012
AWEA Annual Market Report underscores need for PTC extension, April 13, 2012
Iowa city prospers, hopes for PTC extension, April 12, 2012
Denver Post editorial writer: PTC extension 'important to nation, Colorado,' April 11, 2012
From Nevada, Michigan, Montana: Calls for PTC extension, April 10, 2012
Sierra Club, BP agree: Extend the PTC, April 9, 2012
South Dakota newspaper joins others in endorsing PTC, April 6, 2012
National Governors Association: Extend the PTC, April 6, 2012
Sen. Bennet tours factories, pushing jobs and PTC extension, April 5, 2012
WindTV Holiday Special: Church lives mission with wind power, April 4, 2012
Montana county commissioners call for PTC extension, April 3, 2012
'Father of PTC' explains wind incentive's value, March 30, 2012
Citing 'all of above,' former FERC chair urges PTC extension, March 29, 2012
Manufacturers tell Senate panel: PTC extension urgently needed, March 28, 2012
WindTV: Colorado county gets big boost from wind power, March 26, 2012
Former Congressman Boucher sees PTC extension likely, March 26, 2012
WindTV: Wind power breathes new life into small Colorado town, March 21, 2012
Citing need for certainty, BP's Landis calls for PTC extension, March 20, 2012
In op-ed, Kansas Governor, Senator call for PTC extension, March 19, 2012
Bipartisan group of Senators introduces bill to extend PTC, March 16, 2012
Houston Chronicle editorial supports PTC extension, March 15, 2012
Southern Alliance head urges: Extend the PTC, March 14, 2012
WindTV: Missouri manufacturer grows with the wind, March 12, 2012
Oklahoma and America need wind technicians–and a PTC extension, March 8, 2012
WindTV: An American family, powered by a paycheck from wind, March 5, 2012
Salazar, citing 'race we cannot cede', backs extending PTC, March 1, 2012
Kerry, Brown win praise for bipartisan support of PTC extension, February 29, 2012
Wichita Eagle editorial blog endorses PTC extension, February 28, 2012
Daily Oklahoman: PTC extension "makes sense," February 27, 2012
Bipartisan group of Illinois Representatives supports PTC extension, February 24, 2012
Kansas City Star backs PTC extension, praises Brownback, Moran, February 23, 2012
Bennet visits composites factory, urges PTC extension, February 23, 2012
Moran visits Siemens factory, pushes PTC extension, February 22, 2012
WindTV: PTC key to wind power manufacturing jobs, February 21, 2012
Topeka Capital-Journal: Extend the PTC, February 21, 2012
U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA): PTC is jobs engine conservatives should support, February 17, 2012
Bennet, Moran continue bipartisan push to extend PTC, February 16, 2012
Major U.S. consumer brands like Nike on extending the PTC: Just Do It!, February 15, 2012
Oklahoma Gov. Fallin urges conferees: Extend the PTC, February 15, 2012
Michigan worker's plea: Extend PTC, help wind power create U.S. jobs, February 13, 2012
Bipartisan letter from entire Iowa Congressional delegation urges: Extend the PTC, February 10, 2012
Senate Energy Chairman Bingaman: Act now to save clean-energy jobs, February 9, 2012
Bipartisan letter from Colorado Congressional delegation urges: Extend the PTC, February 8, 2012
Republican governors push for PTC extension; Senators express support, February 2, 2012
U.S. Chamber of Commerce joins broad range of groups endorsing PTC extension, February 1, 2012
WindTV: Wind power drives commerce in small-town America, January 24, 2012
Denver Post endorses PTC extension 'sooner rather than later', January 18, 2012
WSJ op-ed: 'Want Growth? Try Stable Tax Policy', January 5, 2012
Red State Energy, Red State Jobs, November 29, 2011


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