Former Governor Mitt Romney would like to see the estate tax eliminated and he would also like to end the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy production. Speaking on ag issues in this Presidential election on the nationally syndicated radio program AgriTalk, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that he appreciates Romney saying he’s for the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), “but he’s not for the wind tax credit which is unfortunate because that’s going to cost a lot of jobs in rural America. We need to not only continue focusing on biofuels, but renewable energy as well.
Both President Obama and Romney have advocated for an expansion of domestic energy production in order to boost the economy and create jobs. They also agree that increasing energy independence is critical to national security. It’s how to get there that they disagree on – the role government should play in subsidizing energy production and regulating its environmental impact.
Farmers for Romney Co-Chair Bill Northey, and Iowa Ag Secretary, says Romney’s position comes from a desire to simplify the tax system. “Looking at a lot of different tax credits and trying to make it easier for folks to be able to reduce rates, and therefore he has opposed the wind energy tax credit,” said Northey. “Many of us in Iowa are still very supportive of the wind energy tax credit. We’ll have lots of discussion with him as we look at the overall picture.”
Northey also said it’s day and night between those two candidates in the opportunities to become self sufficient in energy production.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, record growth in the wind power industry can be attributed to the success of the Production Tax Credit (PTC). In August, the U.S. wind industry surpassed 50 thousand megawatts of installed electrical generation capacity for the first time. This is enough energy to power 13 million averaged sized homes each year. So far in 2012, the country has added 4,728 megawatts of wind power, and AWEA says there are several factors driving this growth including the expansion of U.S. manufacturing, technological advances and the Production Tax Credit.
AWEA CEO Denise Bode says this is what a successful policy looks like when it’s working. But will wind continue to be a bright spot in the U.S. economy? Bode says that depends on Congress. The PTC is set to expire on December 31st and Bode says it has incentivized more than $15 billion dollars a year in private investment in U.S. wind farms.
Extending the PTC is part of an overall tax extenders package that Congress is set to debate during the lame duck session following the November 6, 2012 election. Bode says without the extension, 37,000 industry jobs will be lost within the first quarter of 2013.