The Production Tax Credit (PTC), a subsidy of 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour to producers of electricity from wind turbines, is set to expire at the end of this year. The American Wind Energy Association cites a study by Navigant Consulting, claiming that, “…37,000 Americans stand to lose their jobs by the end of the first quarter of 2013 if Congress does not extend the PTC.”12 billion here and 12 billion there (inflation), and eventually it adds up to real money. The wind power industry, such as it is, is a mature industry. It can stand or fail on it's own, without subsidies.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and other environmental groups have rushed to the defense of the PTC. The Sierra Club states, “At a time when we need clean energy more than ever, we simply cannot afford to let the PTC expire.” The PTC is the cornerstone of President Obama’s green energy program and a key measure supported by environmental efforts to fight global warming.
The Production Tax Credit was established by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to support the nascent wind industry. But twenty years later, is this subsidy still needed? By the end of 2011, 39,000 wind turbine towers were operating in the United States and about 185,000 turbines were in operation worldwide, according to the International Energy Agency. This is no longer an infant industry. Despite the large number of wind towers, wind provides less than one percent of U.S. energy and less than one percent of global energy. A one-year extension of the PTC would cost American taxpayers over $12 billion.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Need to Save Some Money in the Next Budget?
Here's 12 Billion (with a "B").