- The wind energy production tax credit (PTC) was included at the last minute in the package of tax credit extensions acted on by the Senate Finance Committee Thursday, and it was approved. The two-year extension, through 2015, was among a number of items the committee voted to send to the full Senate for consideration.
- The panel rejected an amendment proposed by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would have stripped the bill of all provisions that incentivize alternative energy, including the PTC and credits for biofuels, electric vehicles, alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure and fuel cell technology.
- Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), a longtime backer of the credit whose state is a leader in wind energy production, said it would be fair to give alternative energy sources credits similar to the ones that traditional energy receives.
The two-year 2.3 cents/kWh credit extension is retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year, since the credit expired Dec. 31. Committee approval leaves uncertainty as the byword for the wind industry, whose tax credit has been extended repeatedly and each time faces a battle. Big power players like Exelon are fighting it, because they say the credit skews power markets against traditional baseload resources, particularly nuclear. Whether the Senate will act on the extenders soon is unknown. What their fate in the House of Representatives will be is also unknown, but common wisdom is that no final action will come until late this year.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) offered but withdrew an amendment to phase out the PTC over five years, agreeing it will be more appropriate to raise it in a comprehensive tax reform bill. The idea of phasing out the credit has been discussed with the industry for some time, and both Grassley and Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) expressed support for the notion.