The number of days until the election can now be counted on both hands. Regardless of the outcome, we know one issue will be buried under the fiscal-cliff news—where it hopes to fly under the radar. This one issue? The extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy—which is bound to be present in lame-duck session negotiations, as it is currently scheduled to expire on December 31.
Using taxpayer dollars, the PTC supposedly “makes wind power more competitive with other sources of electricity”—though wind energy is still more expensive than traditionally fueled electricity and raises the costs for both residential and industrial users.
Throughout the year, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has been working valiantly, but unsuccessfully, to get the PTC extended. They are now down to the wire and are getting panicked—sending military veterans to meet with staffers of GOP members who are believed to be “persuadable,” and even calling on pension fund managers to put pressure on House and Senate leadership. Their only hope for salvation is the lame-duck session.
Should Romney win, the lame-duck pressure will be even stronger as he has stood in opposition to the PTC extension. In a Romney White House, wind energy will need to be viable without taxpayer subsidy or borrowing from China. After twenty years, it should be, but as we’ve seen, it isn’t.
By contrast, President Obama is proud of his “investments” in wind energy. In April 2011, before Pennsylvania wind-turbine manufacturer Gamesa started layoffs, he gave a speech at the Fairless Hills plant in which he announced: “I want the United States to be the leading manufacturer of wind power. I want it made right here in the U.S. of A.” Throughout the campaign season, “President Obama has traveled to wind-heavy swing states like Iowa to tout his support for the subsidy.”