The last thing presidential candidate Mitt Romney needs this week is a bit of piling on by some of American’s top corporate icons, but that’s exactly what went down on Tuesday in the form of a wind power advocacy letter to Congress signed by Starbucks, Yahoo!, Ben & Jerry’s, Johnson & Johnson, the Portland Trailblazers, and 14 others. The letter urges Congressional support for extension of the wind power tax credit.
Et tu, Portland Trailblazers? That’s right, even pro basketball is represented in the mix of major U.S. companies arrayed against Romney, whose campaign has confirmed that he is against the popular wind power tax credit. Talk about running against the wind!
A Wind Power Tax Credit Message for You, Romney
Aside from the aforementioned signatories, the others run the gamut from some of America’s oldest and best known brands, like Levi Strauss & Co., to up-and-comers like Clif Bar.
That includes Akamai Technologies; Annie’s, Inc.; Aspen Skiing Company; Jones Lang LaSalle; New Belgium Brewing; The North Face; Pitney Bowes; Seventh Generation; Sprint; Stonyfield Farm; Symantec; and Timberland.
The gist of the letter is that the Production Tax Credit signed into law by George H.W. Bush has begun to deliver on its promise of building a competitive market for renewable energy, as evidenced by a 90 percent drop in the cost of wind power since 1980.
Put that against the backdrop of global fossil fuel price trends (which are up), along with grid stability and supply issues, and it’s clear that U.S. companies have a strong bottom-line interest in wind power, over and above the broader public health and employment benefits to the consumers who populate the domestic marketplace.
The picture is best summed up by New Belgium Brewing, which states that it “has made investing in renewable power a strategic priority because it’s the right thing to do for the environment, for our business, and for clean energy employment.”
Coffee, Beer, and Basketball for Wind Power
Domestic energy security is one thing, but U.S. companies also need access to more wind power as a marketing tool that will enable them to compete in the global economy.
A pair of studies commissioned by the Danish wind turbine company Vestas indicates that, globally, more companies are voluntarily investing in wind power and a majority of consumers prefer products that are manufactured using wind power.
The mere threat of allowing the U.S. wind tax credit to expire has already caused the domestic wind industry to slump this year, after setting an impressive growth record in previous years. If Congress does allow the tax credit to expire, that would not only blow up one of the few bright spots in U.S. industry since the 2008 financial crisis, it would also kneecap any number of other U.S. companies that need every edge to compete in the global marketplace.
As Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, puts it, “the Production Tax Credit helps every business that purchases renewable power: It’s just that simple.”
Simple, that is, if you have the best interests of the U.S. business community at heart.
And yes, President Obama gets the wind power thing, in case you’re wondering.
Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.
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