Industry, conservative groups lobby to kill renewable credits

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Oil and gas industry groups and conservative organizations are urging House lawmakers not to renew an expired wind energy tax credit when the lower chamber takes up its tax extenders package later this year.

In a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), four right-leaning groups — including the Koch brothers-backed organization Americans for Prosperity — urged the House not to revive the wind energy production tax credit that expired at the end of last year.

Heritage Action for America, the American Energy Alliance and the Club for Growth also signed onto the letter.

“For decades, wind subsidy proponents have claimed that the wind industry is on the cusp of competitiveness and that it would only need federal support for a few more years. Yet each time the subsidy faces expiration, the wind lobby clamors for yet another extension,” the groups wrote in the letter.

Last year, Congress waited until December to pass extensions of the wind PTC and a tax credit for solar power that expired at the end of 2013. But the wind PTC extension was a one-year, retroactive extension that expired a few weeks later at the end of 2014.

The groups also tied the wind subsidy to the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, arguing that without it, states would have a harder time hitting their renewable energy targets.

They also warned that a vote on the wind PTC and the extension of other tax breaks could be included in legislative scorecards used to judge lawmakers’ conservative records.

“The committee’s treatment of the wind PTC will be an important factor as we consider whether to include final passage of tax extenders” on the scorecards, the letter said.

The House hasn’t taken up its tax extenders package yet, though GOP lawmakers have indicated that they’ll likely oppose renewable energy credits as they have in the past (E&E Daily, July 22).

The Senate Finance Committee approved an extenders package in July that included renewable energy credits after opponents of the subsidies agreed to hold amendments killing the PTC until the bill hits the Senate floor later this year (E&ENews PM, July 21).