PTC extension absent from payroll tax deal
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Wind energy advocates are scrambling for a way to pass an extension of the Production Tax Credit in the first quarter.
Lawmakers in Washington appear to have hammered out a deal on a major payroll tax cut. But contrary to the hopes of renewable energy advocates, an extension of the expiring wind energy Production Tax Credit wasn't part of the package.
The payroll tax bill was viewed as a potential landing place for the Production Tax Credit, or PTC, which is seen as vital to the U.S. wind energy industry.
But late in the day Wednesday, it became clear that the PTC didn't make it into the final stages of negotiation.
Wind energy advocates, led by the American Wind Energy Association, have said that passing a PTC extension in the first quarter of the year is vital to ensuring that the industry — from wind farm project development to manufacturing by companies such as Vestas — is able to maintain its current level of activity and look toward growth.
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.
Last November, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) joined with Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) to propose legislation to renew the credit and Oregon's delegation has been supportive of the PTC cause.
While it's unclear what the next window of opportunity will be to get the extension approved by lawmakers, AWEA officials said Wednesday that new efforts are underway.
"A bipartisan group of members of Congress are continuing to provide leadership in extending the wind PTC. They're looking at every opportunity to get this done in the first quarter, because they realize the urgency of keeping the tens of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs that are on the line, in particular," AWEA officials said in a statement, citing several examples of efforts in the works.
In addition, Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Staples and Starbucks among others have added their support to a PTC extension.
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