The production tax credit (PTC) is a crucial policy tool for supporting the wind energy industry, offshore included. By not renewing it, Congress will pick a winner: incumbent producers of dirty, inefficient energy, already subsidized to the hilt.
In a nutshell: The PTC is a corporate tax credit for several renewable sources, including wind, that gives investors the incentive and confidence needed to put a stake into wind projects. According to AWEA’s PTC fact sheet, the PTC keeps electricity rates low and encourages development of proven renewable energy projects: “Equipped with the PTC, the wind industry has been able to lower the cost of wind power by more than 90%, provide power to the equivalent of 10 million American homes, and foster economic development in all 50 states.”
Unfortunately, the PTC is set to expire at the end of 2012 - and without a renewal, or industry confidence in its renewal, the job loss forecast looks bleak. The chart above projects layoffs in the tens of thousands as early as Q3 2012, as component and turbine manufacturers find themselves with no orders to fulfill for 2013.
As manufacturing contracts into Q4, layoffs skyrocket. By early 2013, construction jobs are added to the casualty pile.
At a time when Americans are hurting for good jobs, and our manufacturing industry needs new opportunities, it seems absurd that Congress would ignore the facts and not renew the PTC. The rhetoric about picking winners and losers doesn’t work in this case, either; by letting the PTC expire, Washington will be picking a winner - the fossil fuel industry, which already receives federal government subsidies to the tune of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars:
As Grist points out, it made perfect sense to support the fledgling fossil fuels industry in the early 1900s, “but today it’s one of the largest, most profitable industries in history, obviously no longer in need of handouts from Uncle Sam.”
Isn’t it time to give the next generation of energy technology a chance to gain more market share?