Wind Advocates Urge Texas Congressmen to Make Move on Key Tax Credit

As the deadline to extend a key tax credit for wind energy nears, threatening to deal a blow to the industry, advocates are asking two Texas congressmen to vote for extending the credit.

Texas leads the nation in installed wind capacity, with more than 10,000 MW of wind power providing nearly 10 percent of the state’s electricity. Advocates are urging representatives Quico Canseco (R-San Antonio) and Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi) to demand a floor vote in the U.S. House before the lame duck session.

The representatives’ districts are big wind production zones, with 926 MW and 1088 MW, respectively, of installed generation. In Canseco’s district, the Anacacho Wind Farm under construction near Uvalde will add another 99 MW when it goes online next year.

On Thursday, members of the BlueGreen Alliance, The Wind Coalition and American Shoreline, Inc. outlined the need for renewing the federal production tax credit before it expires at the end of the year.

“Wind energy has helped grow our economy and has kept the lights on,” said Dave Cortez of Texas BlueGreen Apollo Alliance. “Congressmen Canseco and Farenthold have an opportunity to take politics out of this equation and put working families first by giving wind power the same long-term support provided to other sources of energy.”

There are 7,000 wind-related jobs in Texas, according to industry group The Wind Coalition. Director Jeff Clark says some of those jobs will be lost if the tax credit is not extended, citing the Sierra Club’s finding that nearly 2,300 wind jobs have already been lost nationwide since the beginning of 2012 due to uncertainty surrounding the credit’s expiration. The wind industry says 37,000 jobs will be lost nationwide if the credit expires, though there are not yet any projections for how many Texas jobs would be lost.

But opponents of the tax credit, which subsidizes wind power by 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, say the industry will always need a federal crutch to compete with other energy sources. Mitt Romney upset some farm-state Republicans by saying he’d end the tax credit. Support for the wind industry has become an important election issue in states like Iowa, where farmers increasingly rely on wind turbines for income.

“Right now the wind power industry is getting a huge tax credit,” Farenthold said, according to the Raymondville Chronicle. “That is taxpayers’ money. I think they should be treated like anyone else.”

But wind energy advocates argue that all new energy sources initially need support, and that the tax credit is working as it’s supposed to. … FULL STORY