The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
New Wind PTC Proposal Would Dramatically Decrease Incentive Before Eliminating It
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
If the latest proposal for the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) is approved, it would dramatically decrease the incentive's amount and eventually phase it out altogether.
Introduced on Thursday by U.S. House of Representative Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, (R-MI), the new proposal would retroactively reduce the credit from about 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour of produced energy to 1.5 cents. The incentive would then be eliminated in 10 years.
Despite a nationwide scramble by businesses hoping to qualify for the credit before it expired in December, Camp's plan presents an unlikely scenario—that industry members actually said they won't need the incentive much longer.
"Businesses in the wind industry have represented to the committee that the industry could survive with a credit worth 60 percent of the current credit, implying that the credit provides a windfall that does not serve the intended policy," the plan reads.
Additionally, 50,000 people signed a petition to renew the incentive and sent it to new Senate Finance Committee leader Ron Wyden, D-OR, just two weeks ago. Before that, the members of the Governors Wind Energy Coalition asked Congress to extend the PTC. They centered their argument around an estimated 5,000-plus layoffs that took place within the industry in late 2012 because of the impending expiration of the PTC. The credit expired Dec. 31, 2012, but Congress temporarily extended it two days later.
“The legislation is highly unlikely to be enacted in its current form," Jeff Davis, a partner at law firm Mayer Brown, told North American Wind Power.
Still, Davis told the publication that Camp's stance that the Internal Revenue Service safe harbor requiring continuous construction for wind projects started by Dec. 31 is too liberal could have a "chilling effect on the wind industry and participants as to what it takes to satisfy the ‘commence construction’ requirements.”
Camp's proposal is part of a nearly 200-page draft of his tax reform act. According to his plan, the PTC provision would increase revenues by $9.6 billion.
Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, believes the proposal would essentially be a slap in the face to an industry that has invest billions in trying to shift the energy supply to cleaner tendencies.
"Retroactive tax increases undermine investors' trust in the U.S. investment environment," Kiernan said in a statement. "To raise taxes retroactively on an industry that has invested up to $25 billion annually in this country and built 550 manufacturing facilities would be bad policy."
Michael Brower, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, is concerned that Camp's proposal doesn't do enough to encourage the private investment needed to grow the industry and move society further away from fossil fuels.
"Renewable energy tax policies have been effective and they can be improved to drive even more capital into clean, American-made energy," he said in a statement. "The tax reform plan released [Thursday] would, if enacted, exacerbate an already uncertain policy environment by proposing repeal of effective tax policies while even undermining existing business agreements and contracts by changing the terms of current operating policy."
Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Dairy aisles have exploded with milk and milk alternative options over the past few years, and choosing the healthiest milk isn't just about the fat content.
Whether you're looking beyond cow's milk for health reasons or dietary preferences or simply want to experiment with different options, you may wonder which type of milk is healthiest for you.
At least 1,688 dams across the U.S. are in such a hazardous condition that, if they fail, could force life-threatening floods on nearby homes, businesses, infrastructure or entire communities, according to an in-depth analysis of public records conducted by the the Associated Press.
By Sabrina Kessler
Far-reaching allegations about how a climate-sinning American multinational could shamelessly lie to the public about its wrongdoing mobilized a small group of New York students on a cold November morning. They stood in front of New York's Supreme Court last week to follow the unprecedented lawsuit against ExxonMobil.
By Alex Robinson
Leah Garcés used to hate poultry farmers.
The animal rights activist, who opposes factory farming, had an adversarial relationship with chicken farmers until around five years ago, when she sat down to listen to one. She met a poultry farmer called Craig Watts in rural North Carolina and learned that the problems stemming from factory farming extended beyond animal cruelty.
Temperatures plunged rapidly across the U.S. this week and around 70 percent of the population is expected to experience temperatures around freezing Wednesday.
In April, he claimed they caused cancer, and he sued to stop an offshore wind farm that was scheduled to go up near land he had purchased for a golf course in Aberdeenshire in Scotland. He lost that fight, and now the Trump Organization has agreed to pay the Scottish government $290,000 to cover its legal fees, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.