WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 7, 2012 – Wind energy fared well in yesterday’s elections, with voters returning wind champions in both parties to Congress, and allowing the current administration’s support for wind energy to continue uninterrupted.
“We’re pleased to see the popular support we’ve always seen in polling validated by the election of so many champions of wind energy who’ve stepped out on our behalf, Republicans and Democrats,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “We heard a lot about wind energy in this election, and it proved to be a winning issue because it is so popular with the American people. As just one measure, an overwhelming majority of the members supported by our political action committee, WindPAC, won their races.”
Among the dozens of Republican wind champions reelected to Congress yesterday, for example, were outspoken House supporters Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Steve King (R-IA) and Tom Latham (R-IA), and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV).
Independent Angus King, a wind project developer since leaving the governorship in Maine, won his race for the open Senate seat there.
Overall, AWEA sees continued bipartisan support In Congress for extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) to incentivize $15 billion a year in private investment in U.S. wind farms, with support steady in the Senate and a net increase in announced supporters in the U.S. House.
Swing states with numerous wind farms as well as wind factories were carried in the election by President Obama, whose campaign took the position that Congress should extend the wind energy Production Tax Credit.
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, important to the wind energy supply chain, and which have untapped wind resources under development.
One measure of support for wind this election: Of the 12 new Senators, seven received WindPAC backing this election cycle. Out of all the Senate candidates for this election cycle who were supported by WindPAC, 89 percent won their races.
In the House, there may be as many as 85 new House members and districts, once all races are decided. Of all the House candidates supported by WindPAC, 88 percent won as well.
Current House Members include 119 co-sponsors of H.R. 3307, introduced by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA-8) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), which would extend the PTC through 2016. Of those, 87 won reelection, including 14 Republicans, and three more won Senate seats, with three races undecided on Wednesday.
The Production Tax Credit for renewable energy (PTC) is an incentive in effect continuously since 2005. It drives $15 billion a year in private investment in wind farms by offering tax relief to their operators according to how much electricity they make. It also creates business for component manufacturers, suppliers, trucking companies and more. It is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress extends it first. A recent study by Navigant Consulting found that allowing it to expire would kill 37,000 jobs within a year, while extending the Production Tax Credit will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years.
The Hill in its election analysis this morning listed “wind energy tax credits” as one of the top three “energy winners” from the election, noting that it will free up more Republicans in Congress to back an extension.
The Des Moines Register’s “A Better Iowa” feature quoted two experts who named “continuing tax credits for Iowa’s wind energy industry” as one of the top five outcomes of the election for Iowa.
For more information, including bipartisan endorsements of the PTC’s extension, please see www.SaveUSAWindJobs.com.