Bipartisan Senate group presses Reid, McConnell on wind tax credit

Source: Ben Geman • The Hill • Posted: Monday, February 27, 2012

A left-to-right coalition of senators is pressing GOP and Democratic leaders to quickly extend tax credits for wind power projects that are slated to lapse at year’s end.

“The future of the American wind industry requires a stable tax environment in which to operate,” states the bipartisan Feb. 22 letter from a dozen senators to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“If we are to expect wind energy to contribute to our country’s future energy needs, Congress must quickly work to reauthorize the wind production tax credit before our wind production capabilities are damaged,” it adds.

Senators including Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) signed the letter.

Growth in wind power installations has tanked when the credit has expired in the past, and the letter notes that failing to extend the credit that makes new power projects viable will weaken domestic manufacturing of turbines, towers and other components.

Wind power enjoys bipartisan backing amid support from Republicans in a number of states — especially areas with strong wind resources where power projects have or could flourish.

But at the same time, increased Capitol Hill emphasis on deficits has created new challenges for advocates of energy-related incentives.

Advocates of the wind credit suffered a setback recently when green energy credits were left off the bill to extend the payroll tax cut.

President Obama, in a major energy speech in Miami on Thursday, is also reiterating his call for extension of green energy incentives.

Obama coupled the comments with a call to strip billions of dollars in oil industry tax breaks. “A century of subsidies to the oil companies is long enough. It’s time to end taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s never been more profitable, and double down on a clean-energy industry that’s never been more promising,” Obama said, according to his prepared remarks.

“This Congress needs to renew the clean-energy tax credits that will lead to more jobs and less dependence on foreign oil,” he said.