The following is cross-posted from AWEA's blog.
Yesterday, 19 companies, including major consumer brands and several Fortune 500 firms, wrote to Congressional leaders encouraging them to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC), a key provision supporting renewable energy.
“For consumers of wind electricity, the economic benefits of the PTC are tremendous. The PTC has enabled the industry to slash wind energy costs 90 percent since 1980--a big reason why companies like ours are buying increasing amounts of renewable energy,” the companies wrote in their letter. “Extending the PTC lowers prices for all consumers, keeps America competitive in a global marketplace and creates homegrown American jobs.”
The signatories of the letter demonstrate how a broad cross-section of U.S. companies are increasingly relying on inexpensive and abundant American wind energy to power their businesses. Signers included Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss & Co., The North Face, Pitney Bowes, the Portland Trail Blazers, Sprint, Starbucks, Symantec, and Yahoo!, among others. Many of the firms are members of Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), a project of Ceres.
Sprint, a national top 50 green power purchaser, highlighted the PTC’s importance to meeting its renewable energy goals:
“Sprint has committed to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and increase its use of renewable energy sources for electricity,” said Amy Hargroves, manager, corporate social responsibility at Sprint. “That’s why we have been actively working to meet our goal to secure 10 percent of our total electricity through renewable energy sources by 2017. We support the extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind because it has enabled companies like Sprint to make the shift to abundant, clean, and homegrown wind energy.”
“The Production Tax Credit helps every business that purchases renewable power: It’s just that simple,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, which coordinates BICEP. “Letting the PTC expire now would increase energy costs for homes and businesses at exactly the wrong time. For Congress, the message from business leaders is clear: Extend the PTC and help us build the economy.”
Bolstered by the PTC, wind energy accounted for 35% of new electrical generation capacity installed in the past five years, and now supplies 20% of electricity in states like Iowa and South Dakota. From 2004 through 2011, non-hydroelectric renewable energy more than doubled and now accounts for nearly 5% of electricity generation in the U.S.
The PTC provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of electricity production from utility-scale wind turbines. It is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress extends it first. A recent study by Navigant Consulting found that extending the Production Tax Credit will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration would kill 37,000 jobs within a year.
A House bill seeking to extend the PTC has 110 cosponsors, including 25 Republicans, while a similar Senate bill is cosponsored by seven Senators, including three Republicans. PTC extension efforts have received the endorsement of a broad coalition of more than 370 members, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Edison Electric Institute, and the Western Governors’ Association. A PTC extension also has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Governors Association, and the bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, which includes 23 Republican and Democratic Governors from across the U.S. A PTC extension has been endorsed by a number of newspapers across the country, including the Des Moines Register, the Denver Post, the Daily Oklahoman, the Toledo Blade, the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Chicago Sun-Times, and The New York Times.