Renewable energy in the United States – most notably, wind energy – currently benefits from a production tax credit (PTC). Wind energy is eligible for $0.022 in tax credits per kWh. It might not sound like much, but considering how much energy wind turbines can generate, it can add up pretty quickly. The problem is that the PTC is set to expire next year.
Peter Sinclair of Climate Denial Crock of the Week describes the PTC as a “political football.” To put it as simply as possible: when renewable energy doesn’t get tax breaks, they pay more taxes. Paying more taxes means less money to spend on developing more renewable energy. (It should also be noted that fossil fuels get much higher subsidies, largely in the form of tax breaks – there’s no favoritism for renewable power here. Whether or not there should be is another matter entirely.)
Just The Facts, Ma’am
The graph below – provided by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) – shows industry growth on a yearly basis, with years showing little growth implied to be years in which the PTC was allowed to expire.
More information from the AWEA supports continuation of the PTC:
With the support of the PTC, the U.S. wind energy industry has achieved impressive numbers:
• Over 400 facilities across 43 states manufacture for the wind energy industry.
• 60% of a wind turbine’s value is now produced here in America, compared to 25% prior to 2005.
• Over 90% drop in the price of wind power since 1980, benefiting utilities and consumers.
• More than $60 billion of investment since 2005
What Can I Do?
You can contact your local representative, by phone, email, or even handwritten letter. I won’t lie — your rep may ignore you entirely, or give you a lukewarm response. But if the PTC is beneficial to the wind industry, it should be renewed, and your rep will help decide that. I don’t have to tell you why renewable energy is a good thing – you’re already here, reading this blog, and chances are you agree already.
Charis Michelsen spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissin, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.