- On Wednesday the House of Representatives passed a one-year extension of wide-ranging package of tax credits, including the wind industry's vital $0.023 per kilowatt-hour production tax credit (PTC).
- The bill, H.R. 5771, passed by 378-46, and is estimated to cost about $42 billion. The total of energy tax credits in the bill is estimated to have a $10 billion cost for taxpayers. The PTC extension is estimated to cost $6.4 billion.
- The American Wind Energy Association called the bill a “three week extension” and the Sierra Club said wind needs more policy stability from Congress. Conservative groups like the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity and the American Energy Alliance called it an “early Christmas present” for big wind manufacturers like GE Energy and NextEra Energy.
The extensions are retroactive to the beginning of 2014 and allow wind projects that break ground by December 31 to qualify for the tax break. The failure of the bill to provide a PTC going forward is expected to mimic effects in 2013, when the failure of Congress to extend the PTC cost the U.S. $23 billion in private investment and 30,000 wind industry jobs.
The one–sided vote suggests this bill is a response to the Obama administration’s threat to veto a 2-year extension of the tax credit package worked out by House and Senate leaders before Thanksgiving.
The White House said that compromise package was too big business-oriented and did not include adequate provisions for average people. H.R. 5771 gave Republicans and conservative Democrats the opportunity to vote against the Obama administration.
Congressional insiders told Utility Dive a month ago that it would not be surprising to hear both House Republicans and Democrats threatening to undo the leaders’ deal for a 2-year extension as negotiating tactics.