Supporters decry short tax break extension for wind industry

Source: By Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill.com • Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2014

A $41.6 billion package of tax breaks passed by the Senate Tuesday night extends controversial credits for the wind power industry, but only through the end of the year.

The extensions for the wind tax credit through 2014 offers little relief for the sector, supporters said.

Senators expressed little pleasure in voting for what they called the least bad option on Tuesday.

“This two-week extenders bill represents another low point in the world of dysfunctional Washington politics,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

“This bill does little to help families and businesses in Colorado, particularly our wind energy industry. Waiting until now to extend the wind PTC — and only for two weeks — generates nothing but more uncertainty for these businesses that employ thousands of Coloradans,” Bennet added.

Bennet voted against the package.

The wind industry argues it needs the credit in order to remain competitive in a power market where it must compete with cheaper sources of energy like natural gas and coal.

“While it is noteworthy that this package secures a retroactive one-year extension of key wind investments, that limited time frame is simply not enough to reverse the climate of uncertainty and job loss that Congress’ long-term inaction has created,” said David Hamilton of the Sierra Club.

Opponents of the credit, however, argue support for wind tax credits is a vote in favor of the president’s climate agenda.

The American Energy Alliance, a conservative energy group, slammed Congress for giving an early Christmas gift to “big wind.”

“We look forward to working with the new Congress to unwind this culture of cronyism that is embodied by handouts like the wind PTC. The new Congress should resist Big Wind’s enticements and reject any attempt to extend the wind PTC,” said Thomas Pyle, president of the AEA.