Wind PTC? What’s that?
A few days ago, I discussed the wind production tax credit (PTC) and the subsidies involved in making energy industries run. However, one fundamental aspect I did not delve too far into was the wind PTC itself. Before you go memorizing another Washington acronym, let’s look at what it is, and why you should keep it on the radar.
Some two decades ago, it was decided that clean, renewable energies possessed environmental, economic, and energy security benefits. Thus, in a piece of legislation known as the Energy Policy Act of 1992, wind energy, along with a handful of other forms of alternative energy, was taken under the wing of the US government. This federal subsidy provided a 2.2 cent per kilowatt-hour benefit for the first ten years of a renewable energy facility’s operation; more electrical output meant greater funding. Wind energy has since become ten times more cost effective, and is now the fastest growing source of energy on the planet.
Obviously, this growth has been due in great part to the wind farm kickstart provided through federal funding, otherwise known as the wind production tax credit, or PTC. While the tax credit has proven to be highly effective, it is currently in danger of expiring on Dec. 31. In addition, in Congress’ recent continuing resolution, or CR (essentially a legislative ‘snooze button’ that maintains current government spending rates when a bill doesn’t get agreed upon), federal funding for the wind PTC was not included. We were close, but we’ll have to try harder in the coming months if we’d like to continue developing this vital US industry.
The wind PTC is arguably the most significant contributor to wind industry progress, which in turn is one of the fastest growing and potentially competitive industries now in existence. What’s more, oil dependency, which threatens our national security, can be lessened through increased and improved alternative energy technologies. So in the coming months, try to keep wind PTC on your radar.