Sixty-four non-profit groups sent a joint letter to the Hill this week that urges Representatives and Senators “to let the wasteful wind PTC expire as planned at the end of the year.” The battle lines are now fully drawn between Big Wind and supporters of free markets and affordable energy. The letter was organized by Americans for Prosperity.
On the side of continuing massive tax subsidies to crony capitalist investors in wind farms are President Barack Obama, nearly all Democratic members of Congress, and a sizable number of Republican members from States that have enacted renewable portfolio standards for electric utilities.
The opponents of renewing the wind production tax credit include Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), and the leadership (but not all the members) of the conservative House Republican Study Committee.
The Senate Finance Committee voted 9 to 15 in early August against an amendment that would reduce by 20% the 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour subsidy that wind farms currently receive for ten years. The Senate’s business tax extenders bill would renew (and actually expand and make more generous) the current credit for one year until 31st December 2013. The CBO estimated that the cost of the extension would be approximately $12 billion over ten years.
It is unlikely that the business tax extenders bill or any other bill that includes extending the wind production tax credit will see any floor action in either the House or Senate before the election. On the other hand, it is almost certain that there will be a big push in a lame duck session in November.