Wind advocates make another run at PTC extension

Wind industry advocates are making a renewed push to extend the Production Tax Credit.

Wind industry advocates are making a renewed push to extend the Production Tax Credit.

Supporters of the renewable energy production tax credit will testify in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Thursday to make the case for the incentive's extension — a legislative goal that has so far proven elusive.

"We're reaching a point of no return now," said Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D - Portland, in a call with reporters Wednesday. Blumenauer will testify in the hearing Thursday.

The call, hosted by the American Wind Energy Association which has been lobbying heavily for the production tax credit's extension, highlighted estimates that 37,000 wind energy workers stand to lose their jobs by the end of the year if the credit is not extended.

The PTC, which provides 2.2 cent per kilowatt hour credit for power produced by qualifying renewable energy sources, is set to expire at the end of the year. The incentive supplies a key piece of the financing puzzle for large-scale wind farm development.

"There are people who are making investment decisions right now. Without the certainty that this tax will be extended, they can’t exercise their fuduciary responsibility and make their commitments," Blumenauer said on the call. "The uncertainty is stifling their decisions going forward."

With several large wind companies with offices in Portland — including turbine maker Vestas and developer Iberdrola Renewables, both of which have their North American operations based in Portland — Blumenauer said Oregon has a vested interest in seeing the credit extended.

Last November, Blumenauer joined with Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., to propose legislation to renew the credit. Last month, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., signed on to a bipartisan effort in the Senate to extend the PTC.

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