Wind Not Alone In Backing Tax Credit Extension

While everyone in the wind industry (except wind power leader Texas, apparently) seems to be up in arms about the looming expiration of the production tax credit (PTC), it’s easy to forget that there are other renewable energy technologies that benefit from the PTC as well. In fact, geothermal and biomass generation facilities benefit from a 2.2¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh) tax credit (the same as wind) during the first 10 years of operation. Other technologies, including landfill gas, hydroelectric, municipal solid waste anaerobic digestion, wave, tidal and ocean thermal technologies benefit from a 1.1¢/kWh tax credit.

And while it may be the most outspoken, the wind industry isn’t the only renewable energy industry pleading lawmakers for an extension of the PTC. Executives from the hydropower, geothermal and biomass power industries are also calling on Congress to pass H.R. 3307, the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act.

geothermal, Mighty River Power

image via Mighty River Power

This bill, sponsored by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), would extend the PTC through 2016 for all renewable energy technologies. (An effort to get this or any other included with an extension of the payroll tax cut being worked on in Congress this week appeared to be making little headway.)

In a recent letter to Congress [PDF], the National Hydropower Association (NHA), Biomass Power Association (BPA), and the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) argued that the tax incentives in place since the mid-2000s have helped “usher in a renaissance in our industries,” and that failure to extend the PTC will effectively bring hydro, geothermal and biomass projects to a grinding halt and “undermine the progress our industries have made in recent years.”

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

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