The battle over extending the wind production tax credit (PTC)
With the production tax credit for wind set to expire at the end
of this year, a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen --
Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mark Udall (D-CO) and
Representatives Jerry McNearney (D-CA) and Steve King (R-IA) --
held a press conference last month to call for another extension.
Forty veterans who now work in the wind industry also came to
promote wind as a cost-competitive option for lowering energy costs
But is wind production worth government subsidies?
Dr. Jonathan Lesser, president of Continental
Economics, Inc., recently examined four years of data from
three regional transmission organizations -- including the one in
Texas that has over 10,000 megawatts of installed wind generation
-- to find out when wind provided the most electricity and how that
impacts the value.
Lesser spoke on the results last week at The Heritage
Foundation, which wants the tax credit to end and for wind to
compete on the free market.
"The least amount of wind power is generated when the demand for
electricity is greatest," he explained. "Conversely, you get the
most amount of wind generated typically in the spring, when the
demand for power is the lowest. Hence the market prices are
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wind
provided 19 percent of Iowa's total electricity generation in 2011,
but it was second to coal.
This is the 20th year for the wind production tax credit.