Tax Credit for Wind Energy Is Truly Up in the Air

f9photos/Shutterstock.com

The wind-production tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year.

With Capitol Hill focused on big-ticket items like the budget and the farm bill, lawmakers appear to have largely forgotten about the wind-production tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of this year.

Leaders of the wind-power industry say they hope legislators will come together to save the credit, known as the PTC, from disappearing, either as part of an overhaul to the tax code or a tax-extenders package. But opposition is fierce, and growing stronger, with conservative groups and oil and gas industry stakeholders lining up against any effort to rescue the subsidy.

"This is an extremely important issue to the industry and we're looking for an extension of the PTC. Right now we're in discussions with the committees around the larger issue of comprehensive tax reform," Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, told National Journal Daily, referring to efforts by the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees to develop tax-reform legislation.

But the committees haven't tipped their hand, at least not yet.

Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., released a series of tax-reform proposals, including a plan to end or scale back certain incentives frequently claimed by the oil industry. The plan made no mention, however, of renewable energy tax credits, including the wind production tax credit.

According to a Senate aide, it is unclear how or when a legislative fix for expiring credits could emerge. The focus right now is on a larger overhaul of the tax code, the aide said, but depending on how the debate progresses, committee members could consider dealing with extenders for next year separately. At this point, however, it's too early to tell what will happen.

On the House side, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., is also drafting a proposal but has not yet put forward a tax-reform plan. Aides to Camp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If the wind industry waits for an overhaul of the tax code, however, it could be waiting for a long time given that there is no certainty that legislators will be able to find enough common ground necessary to pass a comprehensive deal in the current Congress.

A second option, and one which may be more likely, would be for the credit to be renewed as part of an extenders package.

Extending the credit has become something of a ritual in Congress, with members voting to renew the tax break for wind-energy producers seven times since the subsidy was first on the books in 1992. Uncertainty over when an extension might occur is nothing new either, with the most recent extension coming in at the eleventh hour as part of a fiscal-cliff deal negotiated at the end of last year.

"If comprehensive tax reform does not go forward, yes, we would be pushing for extenders which would probably be in a somewhat standard extenders package sometime next year," Kiernan said. We'll be strongly pushing for that as soon as possible."

Efforts to extend the credit have already met with pushback from stakeholders on the other side of the issue. The American Energy Alliance has so far been one of the most vocal opponents of the credit and is planning a major drive against the credit set to begin next week with the release of a series of digital and print ads in the Washington, D.C., market as well as national ads railing against the subsidy for wind producers.

AEA is also helping to organize a fly-in next week to marshal grassroots organizations from across the country to put pressure on members of Congress not to renew the subsidy.

According to Benjamin Cole, a spokesperson for AEA, the fly-in will focus on strengthening opposition to the credit among members who have already said they want to see it expire.

"You've got Senator Joe Manchin [D-W.Va.] who has signed on to ending the PTC and also in West Virginia [Democratic Rep.] Nick Rahall opposing the extension. So we're looking at some of those states where there is bipartisan congressional opposition and where the PTC presents a net loss for that state."

When asked whether he thinks the credit could be renewed, like it was this year, as part of an extenders package, Cole said he doesn't think so.

"The budget conference committee is a priority right now and that won't include an extenders package, and there's no real pressing reason to consider a separate extenders deal right now," Cole said. "The only reason Congress made a mad dash last year to get tax extenders done was that the Bush tax rates were going to expire and that would have affected almost everyone in America. This time around though we're talking about a very narrow, industry-specific tax subsidy and it's unlikely that that will be rolled into any bigger picture deal."

(Image via f9photos/Shutterstock.com)

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.