The production tax credit (PTC) for renewable energy didn’t shrivel up and blow away when Congress failed to include an extension with tax legislation passed earlier this month. The wind industry, which says development will grind to a halt without the PTC, is continuing to push for an extension, and is doing so with what appears to honest-to-goodness bipartisan support.
In fact, most of the noise for this green-energy subsidy seems to be coming from wind-state Republicans, who could end up playing a sort of savior role.
One of the most persistent voices calling for the PTC to live on past its Dec. 31 expiration is Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a fierce critic of the Obama agenda—except when it comes to wind. Iowa is a leading wind power state, and King’s 5th Congressional District is home to several large plants.
“Iowa was the first state to generate 20 percent of its electricity from wind,” King wrote in an op-ed supporting the PTC extension. “Now, wind supports as many as 5,000 Iowa jobs, and $11 million in annual land lease payments to Iowa farmers. Iowa wind has prompted $300 million in private investment in Iowa manufacturing facilities.”
In deeply red Kansas, support for the PTC comes from Republican Gov. Sam Brownback—joining Republican governors from Iowa [PDF] and Oklahoma [PDF] in backing the extension—and from Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). Moran’s district includes the Hutchinson Wind Energy plant, where Siemens employs more than 350 people to make turbine nacelles.
During a recent visit to the plant, Moran told a local newspaper, “There’s no doubt in my mind if we extend it that this is a job creator. More people will be working and paying taxes and helping get our financial house in order.”