It was another squeaker week watching Congress consider an amendment to the Keystone Pipeline bill which would have renewed the Production Tax Credit for another five years. As reported in Politico,
“The amendment went down 47-51. Every Democrat except Joe Manchin voted in favor, along with just three Republicans: Chuck Grassley, Susan Collins and Mark Kirk. That leaves a number of GOP supporters of the PTC who would prefer a phase-out rather than a long-term extension – including Cory Gardner, John Thune, Jerry Moran and Rob Portman (Ohio) – voting against the amendment.”
AWEA put their best face on a bad situation and hopes that the opportunity for a renewal is still possible. They make it appear, on one hand, that a phase-out is acceptable. On the other hand, AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan says ““…we need an extension as long as possible and as soon as possible.” With respect to how much industrial wind is under construction following last year’s one year extension: “AWEA couldn’t say exactly how much of the capacity that it calls under construction has qualified for the PTC under complicated (though not especially onerous) IRS guidelines.” At the same time, AWEA reports that 60% of the projects “under construction” are in Texas.
Former Oklahoma Senator Don Nickles wrote in The Hill this week: “Wind is a mature and thriving industry, which is precisely why one of the industry’s arguments that the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) is needed to support a “nascent” industry is a total fallacy. There is simply no need for the PTC to exist any longer. I am hopeful that the Republican Congress recognizes this, and does everything they can to ensure the PTC expires permanently, including by taking up much-needed comprehensive tax reform.” We wish Senator Portman was on board with that thinking. It was especially maddening to read in this report that, “despite the PTC coming in at a cost of more than 15 percent of the total package [$41.6 billion] that year, the wind industry called the extension “worthless.” I doubt that the American taxpayers who are footing this bill for billions of dollars would agree. “
Last, we note that Carol Browner, former head of the US EPA, is publically calling for support of nuclear energy to address climate change. If the goal is to reduce carbon emissions, nuclear energy must be a significant part of the solution but many so-called environmentalists and climate-change alarmists refuse to support nuclear power. This position materially undermines their credibility as wind energy cannot make a meaningful impact on carbon emissions….