Yet we are we are weeks away from losing one of the most successful programs to promote wind energy in the U.S., and tens of thousands of the jobs that have come with it.
The Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), which expires at the end of the year, has been an unequivocal success since it was enacted in 1992. In addition to helping lower the cost of wind energy by 90% and power the equivalent of 12 million homes, the PTC supports 75,000 wind jobs and helps raise $20 billion in private investment in wind energy each year.1
Tell Congress: Renew the Wind Production Tax Credit.
The PTC should be a no-brainer. But the Koch brothers-linked American Energy Alliance and Americans for Prosperity are waging a major campaign to sink it, and many Republicans are going along.2
These Republicans are cynically claiming that we can’t afford the $1 billion-a-year program, even as the very same Republicans vote repeatedly to protect billions more per year in tax cuts and giveaways for the oil industry.2
Their obstruction could cost an estimated 37,000 wind jobs over the next year, and already wind companies facing the changing economics without the PTC have laid off thousands of workers.3
The PTC is a bipartisan policy originally authored by Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. Even the rabidly anti-climate U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers support the program because it has been and continues to be a terrific investment. So any elected leader who votes against the PTC is doing so for one reason only: to protect polluters, even at the expense of American jobs.
The potential for wind energy in this country is massive – 20% of all our energy could come from wind by 2030, supporting half a million jobs. But the industry can’t grow without predictable policies. The PTC has been allowed to expire three times since 2000, and each time, new installed wind capacity, and jobs in the wind industry, have plummeted.
It should come as no surprise that it is extremely difficult for emerging sources of energy to compete, as the oil, gas and coal industries continue to benefit from nearly a century of government investment, subsidies, giveaways, tax breaks and now even a political system that has been shaped by their influence and money.
But for the sake of our future, clean sources of energy must not just compete, they must surpass fossil fuels. The PTC keeps us moving in the right direction and Congress should renew it right away.
1. “Federal Production Tax Credit for Wind Energy,” American Wind Energy Association
2. “Koch-Affiliated Group Campaigns To Make Wind Tax Credit ‘So Toxic’ Republicans Won’t Back It,” Think Progress, 10/19/12
3. “46 Republicans Claim Wind Credits Are Too ‘Costly’ After Voting To Retain Billions In Big Oil Subsidies,” Think Progress, 9/26/12
4. “American Wind Manufacturers Lay Off 1,100 Workers In One Month, Citing Expiring Wind Tax Credit,” Think Progress, 9/27/12