Some pretty ill winds are blowing around Washington, D.C. these days, and some of those are directed at the wind energy industry. As I told you yesterday about what would come, Republicans launched their attack in the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on Energy Policy, arguing, according to this blog post from The Hill, that the production tax credit for wind farms is not worth the money being invested. They point to an analysis that shows a one-year extension of the tax credit would cost about $6.1 billion over 10 years. But Democrats on the committee argue it’s a bigger bargain than what we’re getting from the oil companies’ subsidies and tax credits.
“Big oil still gets subsidies even though just the biggest five oil companies … made a combined $118 billion in profits in 2012,” Rep. Jackie Speier (Calif.), the top Democrat on the subcommittee, said. “Oil and gas have received over $4.8 billion each year in government subsidies over 90 years.”
She added, “If you want to get rid of the PTC, then let’s get rid of all the subsidies for all the various forms of energy. We need to give as much support to clean renewable energy sources as we have provided and continue to provide for the fossil fuel industry.”
Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) said that “the detractors of the wind industry are asking the government to pick winners and losers by removing federal subsidies for only one particular sector of the energy capacity, which is wind energy, but leaving all the other subsidies intact.”
The credit was extended at the beginning of this year as part of the deal to avoid sending the country over the fiscal cliff. But wind energy backers say now is the time to extend the credit for years to give the industry better stability and encourage more private investment and growth.