Why Congress Can’t Kill the PTC

by | Apr 23, 2012

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The wind power production tax credit (PTC) has survived multiple extensions since its inception in 1992, and now it requires support more than ever before. In February, the alternative energy sector experienced a devastating setback when Congress opted not to extend the PTC, threatening domestic innovation as well as tens of thousands of American jobs. Congressional inaction has already taken a toll on the wind industry, making the extension of the PTC even more time-sensitive. Although an extension of the PTC is still possible in the form of stand-alone legislation or in conjunction with another bill, it is necessary for both the future of green energy and the future of American workers that the PTC is extended soon.

Support for the PTC is so widespread that it is not designated to just one political party. Instead, the income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for wind turbine electricity has received bi-partisan backing. Like the politicians who believe in extending the credit, Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), knows the disastrous effects that ending the PTC will have on the country. She said, “Jobs could vanish if Congress allows the production tax credit to expire, in effect enacting a targeted tax increase, and sending our jobs to foreign countries. Congress must act as early in 2012 as possible to keep this American manufacturing success story going.” In order to continue economic growth and save American jobs, the PTC must be extended as soon as possible.

Killing the PTC kills the economy

Killing the PTC is the same as Congress increasing taxes on renewable energy. A raise in taxes on renewable energy would tarnish an industry that has provided Americans with jobs and ensured stability of electricity prices. By extending the PTC, the country can continue to support domestic energy production, and therefore, economic growth. If Congress allows the PTC to live, the U.S. has the means to achieve its goal of generating 20 percent of electricity from wind by 2030. The tax credit can continue to foster growth in the renewable energy sector, providing 500,000 more Americans with jobs in wind production.

Without the PTC, domestic economic growth and growth of the renewable energy sector are in danger.  Even though the future of the PTC is still unsure, Congress’ failure to extend the credit has already had a negative impact on the industry. Projects for next year should already be underway, but developers have put them on hold in the midst of Congress’ decision.  If the tax credit does not receive an extension soon, the delays in these projects will have long-term effects, resulting in the loss of even more American jobs.

You can count on wind power

More manufacturers are choosing wind turbines to provide power because they are dependable. Enhanced energy storage alternatives like ultracapacitors increase the reliability of wind applications, providing steady energy even during high winds or storms. As a result, the adoption of wind energy has become especially prevalent over the past four years. In this time period, 35 percent of new energy capacity in the U.S. was provided by wind applications. This percentage exceeds that of both coal and nuclear power generation. Currently, wind applications provide power for the equivalent of 10 million homes across the country, indicating that the nation is eager for increased adoption of wind energy.

Aside from the immediate benefits of using wind power, there are plenty of long-term benefits as well. If states begin to use renewable energy sources like wind turbines, it is likely that they will continue to adopt green initiatives. For example, after experiencing success with wind energy, Iowa went on to generate 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. This effect can spread to other states too, causing a nationwide increase in green energy generation. If the PTC is extended, it can continue to encourage the growth and advancement of alternative energy throughout the country.

With 50,000 megawatts of wind power installed in the country and more than 8,000 more being built, the U.S. obviously has the desire to increase wind energy generation. However, this cannot be achieved without the incentives that are provided by the PTC. The wind industry allows for clean and cost-effective energy production, while fostering domestic economic success. Green energy generation is not only good for the economy as a whole, but also for those individuals who hold jobs in the wind industry. Without Congress’ backing of the PTC, these people will lose their jobs. Green energy and the Americans it employs deserve Congress’ attention, and furthermore, they deserve Congress’ help. Supporting the PTC will help the wind industry and those who work in it and will also encourage national success in energy production.

Chad Hall ([email protected]) is founder and a vice president of sales at Ioxus, Inc., focusing on European sales. Previously, he spent 14 years with Ioxus’ parent company, Custom Electronics, Inc. (CEI). His extensive mechanical engineering and business experience helped establish Ioxus from funding to factory to launch. 

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