On Thursday more than 3,000 Texans and other clean energy advocates submitted letters to Representatives Quico Canseco (CD-23) and Blake Farenthold (CD-27) asking them to protect jobs by speaking out in favor of extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy.
The wind industry currently supports more than 75,000 jobs across the country, with over 7,000 right here in Texas. With a PTC expiration only three months away, the industry is already experiencing layoffs and manufacturing plant closings in several states.
“Wind energy is providing local jobs and economic development at a time when we need it most, and is helping to provide a cleaner, healthier future for all Texans,” said Jeffrey Clark, Executive Director of The Wind Coalition, a non-profit association representing developers, owners and operators of wind farms, turbine and component part manufacturers, law and engineering firms and public interest advocates. ”The development of new clean energy projects and the continuation of existing projects hang in the balance as Congress wavers on the renewal of critical wind energy tax credits.”
As a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report stated, “Current energy tax policy is the result of prior policy action undertaken in an effort to achieve the nation’s long-standing goal of enhancing U.S. energy security. For example, the promotion of domestic fossil fuel production, the current principle short-run strategy, was a central tenet of energy tax policy from 1918 through the late 1960s” (Sherlock and Crandall-Hollick, September 2012).
In addition, U.S. government support for oil, natural gas, and coal has totaled over $500 billion from 1950 to 2006 according to Management Information Services Incorporated. Some of these incentives have been permanent fixtures of the tax code for decades, whereas the PTC has been periodically extended on a short-term basis since 1992.
“Wind energy has helped grow our economy and has kept the lights on during peak demand. Congressmen Canseco and Farenthold have an opportunity to take politics out of the equation and put working families first by giving wind power the same long term support provided to other sources of energy,” said Dave Cortez, Coordinator for the Texas BlueGreen Apollo Alliance.
Despite bipartisan support for the PTC in wind states across the country, many members of the House of Representatives from Texas have refused to call for a vote to protect current and future wind jobs in their “wind” districts. By submitting the 3,000 plus letters, supporters of the PTC want to show the congressmen that Texans support wind power and want more energy security.
“I think when politicians take all or nothing positions, and fail to examine which subsidies are valuable and which are wasteful, they often make dire mistakes that can set us back decades,” said Jeff Neves, Project Developer for American Shoreline Inc. “The goal for wind developers is to use the PTC to get a start and then operate without assistance. The development of wind power in South Texas has been in the works for many years, and it presents incredible long term potential to continue for years to come, not due to subsidies, but because of the competitive characteristics of the region, and the PTC is just a means of fostering that growth.”
List of key wind projects in CD 23
Anacacho Wind Farm (Near Uvalde)
Desert Sky Wind Project (CPS Energy purchases power from here)
Sherbino Wind Farms (BP owned near Ft. Stockton)
Woodward Mountain Wind Ranch
List of key wind projects in CD 27
Palo Alto West Wind Farm (Proposed for construction in Nueces County, projected $3 million annual tax revenue)
Papalote Wind Farm (Near Taft, Texas)
Magic Valley Wind Farm (Willacy County, formerly represented by CD-27)