Advocates of expiring tax credits for wind power projects will greet next week’s return of Congress with a multi-front campaign for extension of the incentives in the lame-duck session.
A bipartisan group of governors, under the umbrella of the 28-member Governors’ Wind Coalition, will hold a Tuesday press conference calling for an extension of the production tax credit that’s scheduled to expire at year’s end.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) will be at the Capitol Hill event, while Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and perhaps Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will join by phone, an advisory states.
Separately, the Sierra Club has blanketed a Capitol Hill metro station with ads in advance of a multiday “wind week” campaign next week to promote extension of the credits.
“Wind power makes clean energy, good jobs and better future. Don’t blow it,” some of the ads state, showing images of people working on wind projects. The ads, shown here, will run for a month.
The wind industry calls the production tax credit vital to financing new projects, and says that uncertainty about its future is what’s behind a number of recent layoffs by companies such as Vestas Wind Systems.
The industry will shed 37,000 jobs if the credit expires, according to a study by the consulting firm Navigant that was commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
“Wind week” will involve labor, environmental and wind industry groups, the Sierra Club said.
“Every day that Congress delays action means more layoffs and job losses for American workers. The wind industry doesn’t just support clean energy that keeps our air free of pollution, it also feeds the families of 75,000 workers,” Sierra Club President Michael Brune said in a statement.
Elsewhere, AWEA is lobbying hard for the credit and plans to deliver Congress a petition from wind industry workers – including veterans in the sector – as soon as next week.
The trade group’s fall symposium with industry officials in Arizona next week is also expected to feature strategizing over how to move the credit’s extension in the lame-duck session.
The 20-year-old credit has historically had bipartisan backing, but Republicans are increasingly criticizing green energy programs.
Critics of the credit are also boosting their efforts. The American Energy Alliance, a conservative group with fossil fuel industry backing, is circulating a new study on Capitol Hill that’s critical of the incentive.
It argues that the credit provides “training wheels” to an industry that doesn’t need them – especially at taxpayers’ expense.
The Senate Finance Committee in August approved a one-year extension of the credit, which carries an estimated cost of $12 billion over the next decade.
But the committee bill, which extends a series of expiring tax incentives, did not yet make it to the Senate floor. The House has not acted on the credit.
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