Another try for PTC

Source: Bill Opalka • Posted: Sunday, November 6, 2011

A four-year extension proposed

The production tax credit for renewable energy projects doesn’t expire for another year, but supporters are gearing up for a year-long fight in a presidential election cycle to win a four-year extension.

Bipartisan support from the Pacific Northwest came in the form of a bill introduced last week. Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the “American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act,” which would extend the PTC, currently set at 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, through 2016.

“Extending this long-standing tax incentive will leverage private investment to bring proven energy projects online, bolster domestic manufacturing and reduce electricity costs for businesses and families,” Reichert said. “Renewable energy resources play an important and increasing role in America’s total energy supply and reducing our reliance on foreign energy resources controlled by hostile nations. The certainty this bipartisan bill will provide can further spur growth in this vital sector, increase economic development and create jobs.”

The current extension through 2012 was enacted as part of the economic stimulus programs by the Obama administration, making it a lightning rod in some quarters.

“Wind energy means 75,000 jobs across the U.S. today and could support 500,000 American jobs across the country in manufacturing, construction, engineering, development and other fields less than 20 years from now according to a U.S. Department of Energy study,” said American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Denise Bode.

Private investment generated over the last four years of relative PTC stability averages $17 billion a year, according to AWEA.

The wind industry was on a roller coaster ride last decade when the PTC expired and project construction immediately crashed. And the industry’s latest quarterly report on capacity expansions pointed out how plans for new projects in 2013 are essentially on hold.