Clean Power

Published on April 18th, 2014 | by AWEA


Wind Energy Policy Takes Important Step Forward US Senate

April 18th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Into the Wind.
By Mary Kate Francis 

Across the country, wind power supporters are thanking their legislators for taking an important step forward in the effort to extend the renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC).

The Senate Finance Committee, whose members are listed below, approved a bill on Thursday, April 3, to extend a host of expired and expiring tax provisions, including the renewable energy PTC and Investment Tax Credit (ITC). 

The extension would let wind energy developers qualify for the tax credits if they start construction on their wind projects by the end of 2015.

However, during the markup of this bill, the Senators did take a vote on the elimination of the renewable energy PTC, and several additional credits. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced this amendment, and five Senators joined him in voting for it: Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY). As the remaining 18 Committee members voted in opposition, the amendment failed.

If you are represented by a Senator who serves on the Finance Committee, and would like to write him or her a note in follow-up, please use AWEA’s Power of Wind advocacy tool to send a quick message to your Senator.  

The next step in the legislative process will be for the bill, entitled the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act of 2014, to move to the Senate floor for consideration. At that time, all Senators will have the opportunity to vote on this bill.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that he would like to take this bill to the Senate floor “after lawmakers return [Monday,] April 28, from a two-week recess.”

Senate Finance Committee Members:
Colorado: Sen. Michael Bennet (D)
Iowa: Sen. Charles Grassley (R)
Kansas: Sen. Pat Roberts (R)
Delaware: Sen. Thomas Carper (D)
Florida: Sen. Bill Nelson (D)
Georgia: Sen. Johnny Isakson (R)
Idaho: Sen. Michael Crapo (R)
Maryland: Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D)
Michigan: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D)
New Jersey: Sen. Robert Menendez (D)
New York: Sen. Charles Schumer (D)
North Carolina: Sen. Richard Burr (R)
Pennsylvania: Sen. Bob Casey (D) and Sen. Patrick Toomey (R)
Ohio: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and Sen. Rob Portman (R)
South Dakota: Sen. John Thune (R)
Texas: Sen. John Cornyn (R)
Utah: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R)
Virginia: Sen. Mark Warner (D)
Washington: Sen. Maria Cantwell (D)
West Virginia: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D)
Wyoming: Sen. Michael Enzi (R)

If you are represented by one of these Senators, please use AWEA’s Power of Wind advocacy tool to send a quick message to your Senator

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  • Peter Gray

    When they’re up for re-election, let’s not forget how the committee members voted. Of course voters should be reminded about which ones supported the amendment, but special praise is due for the Rs who voted against it. In some of these states, wind energy is gaining a significant political constituency, which thanks in part to this PTC extension will be stronger in a few years. Maybe some of these Senators are thinking ahead and placing their bets.

    Can’t help noticing that Cornyn and Crapo, hardly liberals, did not support the amendment. Maybe just a coincidence with wind development in TX and ID. And coal in WY probably had nothing to do with Enzi’s vote…

    • A Real Libertarian

      Enzi and Roberts are both up for reelection this year.

      This could get interesting.

      • Peter Gray

        Let’s hope so. But do you know how much coal ships out of Wyoming? I’m not holding my breath there.
        I don’t know much about Kansas – maybe others here can enlighten us.

        • A Real Libertarian

          The most interesting sideshow is Oklahoma, as due to a retirement and chronological linkup, both Senate seats and the Governor’s Mansion are up for grabs.

          And Jim Inhofe has a long history of opposing wind power.

          You gotta wonder how votes that will cost the Republicans.

          It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that a couple gaffes and Obamacare’s success will bring him down.

          Highly unlikely, but possible.

          • Peter Gray

            Inhofe! Don’t get me started. He’s the epitome of the worst combination of ignorance, legal bribery, and politics. He’s that little spot in the Venn diagram where oil money, religion, pride, jingoism, total ignorance of science, and prejudice all overlap.

            It would be great if he’s voted out, almost as much to celebrate as McConnell’s defeat, but it seems too much to hope for.
            If his dangerous botched airplane landing a few years ago didn’t take him out, it’s hard to imagine that gaffes will do it.
            Obamacare success, though. That’s probably the best hope for Inhofe, along with several other guys. I assume OK is one of the R states that tried to block ACA implementation? Will that backfire on a Senator, or just the governor?
            Without taking high hopes into it, the whole thing should be fun to watch!

            In another thread, did I pass you some links to McConnell’s amazing FB pages? Not to be missed!

          • A Real Libertarian

            The gaffes I’m thinking of is along the lines being caught on camera saying “If it was up to me, I’d just tear down all those things” (i.e. wind turbines).

            On Obamacare, it doesn’t matter whether or not he opposes it, he’s tarred simply by being a Republican.

            And he opposes it enough to cosponsor over 40 bills to repeal it.

          • Peter Gray

            I guess that’s a gaffe. Or is it just an Inhofe policy statement? In OK, is there reason to expect he would lose net votes by saying that, instead of gaining?
            Serious analyses I’ve seen suggest a likely D net loss of Senate seats, and high risk of losing the majority. Stakes are high. The best hope is that the Rs overplayed their hand by putting all their chips on anti-Ocare. Still not at all clear how that will play out.
            There’s an excellent piece on that in the current New Yorker, but I can’t find a digital link to it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Obamacare, if played correctly, is likely to be a big asset to Democratic candidates. Over 8 million people now receiving health insurance. Once the new ads by business are included the number is going to be huge. Take those millions of people along with their families and friends who will see how it’s working and that’s a lot of votes.

            We’re already starting to see stories of people whose lives have been improved in major ways by now having access health care. What might help is a constant stream of these stories being told.

            A lot of people are going to have second “I should have signed up” thoughts. And the next open enrollment starts in November, right before the election.

          • Peter Gray

            I agree that’s all very gratifying, and the fact that many Rs are trying to backpedal and dodge is a good sign that they overplayed it.
            I think ACA is still fragile, though, still not out of the woods, and facing some important unknowns on cost.

            I misremembered the source, but this thoughtful article from NYRB is worth considering:

            As always, the old saw about telling lies enough times that people accept them as truth is sadly true for large fractions of the population.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Turns out McConnell is weak, very weak.

            His approval ratings in Kentucky are lower then Obama’s.

            And Obamacare is huge in Kentucky too.

            The Republicans are breaking historical records for being unable to capitalize on advantages:


          • A Real Libertarian

            “In OK, is there reason to expect he would lose net votes by saying that, instead of gaining?”


            Wind is big in Oklahoma, Very Big.

          • Peter Gray

            As big as oil? As big as Republican dominance in every single county?
            Right now they’re pulling the same ALEC-scripted “penalize PV” BS they tried in AZ.
            I hope we’ll see a turnaround, but OK is one of the very last places I’d expect it.

          • Calamity_Jean

            It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that a couple gaffes and Obamacare’s success will bring him down.

            From your keyboard to FSM’s inbox!

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