Today, House Democrats released a green energy tax extenders package filled with various wasteful and distortionary tax provisions. Among the list of green giveaways Democrats expect taxpayers to pay for is the extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy. House Democrats’ attempt to extend these wind subsidies is in violation of the 2015 bipartisan agreement, known as the PATH Act, which phased out these tax credits in 2019.
The Democrats’ decision to extend these tax credits comes after an intense lobbying effort by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the national trade association for the wind industry. The effort to maintain the industry’s tax credit is a complete reversal of AWEA’s public position, as the association maintained that the industry did not need the continuation of federal tax credits as recently as last November.
Unsurprisingly, the wind industry has gone back on its word and is once again begging for corporate welfare.
Here are ten times the wind industry publicly supported an end to their federal tax credits:
- October 10, 2019 – “When we did the phaseout, I strongly supported it,” – Mark Goodwin, CEO of developer Apex Clean Energy.
- September 20, 2019 – “In terms of PTC, I agree [that it “should go away completely”]. I think that the boom-and-bust cycle of the PTC has done the most damage to the stability of the market, and the suppliers also capitalize on that.” – Jonathan Word, Director, Eolus North America.
- June 14, 2019 – AWEA told Greentech media that rather than seeking a wind-specific incentive, “AWEA is encouraging a widely applicable, transferable technology-neutral tax credit based on carbon emissions” – Bree Raum, AWEA’s Vice President of federal affairs.
- June 14, 2019 – “I think phasing down the PTC and ITC at a point where we don’t need them anymore is the right choice, the right decision.” – Jose Antonio Miranda, CEO for the Americas at turbine supplier Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.
- June 14, 2019 – “Can we compete without it? Yeah. In the rest of the world we’re not provided with that incentive.” – Chris Brown, president of sales and services in the U.S. and Canada at wind turbine supplier Vestas.
- November 15, 2018 – “Utilities make 20- and 30-year decisions, and they’ve kind of voted with their pocketbook. We’re ready to compete in a subsidy-free world.” – Chris Brown, President of turbine maker Vestas North America.
- November 17, 2017 – AWEA applauded the Senate tax proposal for adhering to the 2015 PATH Act which phases out PTC and ITC in 2019. “The wind industry tax reformed ourselves with bipartisan agreement in 2015. The Senate tax proposal gets it right by respecting those terms.” – Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
- December 20, 2012 – While advocating for the extension of its tax credit in the 2012 fiscal cliff deal, the American Wind Energy Association told CNN that “the industry can compete against other power sources like coal and natural gas by 2018, so long as the credit doesn’t disappear before then.”
- December 20, 2012 – “By offering to give up the tax credit eventually, the wind industry is doing its part to reduce the deficit. We need to be leaders in the fiscal challenge facing our country.” – Ellen Carey, a spokeswoman for AWEA.
- December 12, 2012 – “The industry believes it can achieve the greater economies of scale and technology improvements that it needs to become cost-competitive without the PTC.” – AWEA press release supporting 2012 deal to phase out tax credits.
BONUS: At the time of this writing, AWEA’s tax policy page on their website still states that the wind industry is prepared for the current phase-out schedule of the ITC and PTC. “Growth in the wind industry is expected to remain strong when the PTC is fully phased-out. Because the PTC has been successful in helping establish a reliable, competitive domestic wind industry, wind will continue to expand capacity and deliver economic benefits for Americans and their communities.”