Wind Tax Credit Extended as Part of Fiscal Cliff Deal
January 2, 2013
As I’ve noted recently, so-called conservatives have been waging a rabidly aggressive fight against any government subsidies to clean energy, while continuing to pump out far greater taxpayer support for sunsetting technologies and conventional fossil fuels. The one year extension of the wind production tax credit is better than nothing, but continues the long term tradition of hit and miss support for renewables, especially wind power, which has been allowed periodically to fall off its own fiscal cliff.
A one-year extension to a wind power credit made it into the final “fiscal cliff” bargain Tuesday, much to the delight of green groups and the wind industry.
The 2.2 cent-per-kilowatt-hour credit for wind-power production had already expired Tuesday. Green and industry groups had pushed hard for its extension, saying letting the credit end would eliminate 37,000 jobs.
“[W]e thank President Obama and all the members of the House and Senate who had the foresight to extend this successful policy, so wind projects can continue to be developed in 2013 and 2014,” Denise Bode, the departing chief executive of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), a wind industry group, said in a Tuesday statement.
Its inclusion marks a defeat for conservative groups and lawmakers, who argued an alteration to the credit amounted to an expansion of the program.
The fiscal-cliff bill headed to Obama’s desk extends a handful of income tax rates and punts a series of automatic spending cuts for another two months.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), America’s 75,000 workers in wind energy are celebrating over the continuation of policies expected to save up to 37,000 jobs and create far more over time, and to revive business at nearly 500 manufacturing facilities across the country. The extension of the wind energy PTC, and ITC for community and offshore projects, will allow continued growth of the energy source that installed the most new electrical generating capacity in America last year, with factories or wind farms in all 50 states.
The version included in the legislation covers all wind projects that start construction in 2013. Companies that manufacture wind turbines and install them sought that definition to allow for the 18-24 months it takes to develop a new wind farm.
Wind set a new record in 2012 by installing 44 percent of all new electrical generating capacity in America, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, leading the electric sector compared with 30 percent for natural gas, and lesser amounts for coal and other sources.
Half the American jobs in wind energy—37,000 out of 75,000—and hundreds of U.S. factories in the supply chain would have been at stake had the PTC been allowed to expire, according to a study by Navigant Consulting.