Should Congress let wind energy tax credit expire?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

As a coalition continues to call for Congress to let the wind production tax credit expire, one group in the coalition and a wind energy proponent present their opposing viewpoints.

The coalition involves two dozen groups, including Heritage Action for America, the Independent Women's Forum and National Taxpayers Union. Americans for Prosperity leads the coalition, and Christine Hanson is a federal policy analyst with that organization. 

"The wind production tax credit has been around for 21 years,” Hanson says. “It doesn't produce cheaper energy. It's an unreliable energy source. It threatens the reliability of the electrical grid. There are a number of downsides."

But Harold Prior, executive director of Iowa Wind Energy Association, makes a  different case. 

Prior

"First of all, it's another way of diversifying our energy portfolio,” Prior says. “We don't have any fuel price volatility. The wind resource itself is free, and there are tremendous advances in the wind turbines. Now, the cost of generating wind energy on a wholesale basis is becoming very attractive. It's extremely competitive even with natural gas."

Those opposed to tax credits or subsidies have told OneNewsNow, “If it's that competitive, it doesn't need the assistance.” But Prior says the wind energy industry could exist without the production tax credit.

"I don't think there is any question that the wind energy would exist,” he tells OneNewsNow. “It would not have nearly as large a percentage of generation as it does currently. The impact would be on the manufacturers of the major components, just like with any other major industry. They're not going to make those investments when federal policy is uncertain."

Meanwhile, Christine Hanson of Americans for Prosperity says her group is not opposed to wind energy, only to subsidizing it, because AFP supports eliminating all tax breaks for all energy sources across the board.

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