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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

Member Update

December 4, 2014

To:                  State Representatives

From:              Larry, David, and Ed

Subject:           Member Update

These are very interesting…and challenging times

Here’s a brief update on our work that we can talk about in more detail during our conference call next Friday, December 12.

Wind Production Tax Credit. As you may have heard already, the House voted late last night to retroactively renew the production tax credit and dozens of other lapsed tax breaks through the end of this year. That provides little time for the PTC to spur any substantial new activity. The Senate will take up the measure today. Recall that the Senate version that passed had a two-year extension. Frankly, none of us knew that the earlier House version, which included a multi-year extension, would include permanent tax extenders that the White House threaten to veto.

It’s likely that the House version will prevail and that we’ll be addressing the PTC again early next year when Congress convenes.

Thanks to all of you — especially Hunter, Sam, Margi, and Doug — for your work on the coalition’s PTC letter. Multi-governor letters with a strong and focused message are very difficult. But the coalition’s letter was excellent, and left no doubt about how strongly the governors’ support an appropriate extension of the PTC.

Transmission Development and State of the Union Address. Last month, Governor Daugaard and Governor Inslee sent a letter to Energy Secretary Moniz regarding a technical transmission provision in the Energy Policy Act. The real purpose of the letter, though, was to make the case that transmission development must be a national priority. It appears that that message got through and will be part of President Obama’s State of the Union address next month. That’s exactly what he had hoped for.

Some of you may remember when President George Bush devoted part of his State of the Union Address to renewable transportation fuel. His strong remarks laid the political foundation for the passage of an expanded renewable fuels requirement later that session. Although the political environment is vastly different today, it is our hope that President Obama’s mention of national transmission development does exactly the same thing that President Bush’s address did for the nation’s biofuels industry.

Comments on 111(d). Our 111(d) comments on the proposed Clean Power Plan rule were filed this week. We were sensitive to the position that many states have taken with respect to the legal foundation of the proposed rule. Our comments were limited to the importance of wind power as an eligible carbon emissions reducer and the importance that transmission development would play in the proposed rule. The coalition’s  Quadrennial Energy Review Comments also emphasized transmission development and integrated policy planning.

Vice Chairman 2015. We hope to have an announcement soon as to who will be Governor Inslee’s vice chairman in 2015.