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September 19, 2012
BICEP Members Call for Extension of Wind Credit
    by Robert Kropp

Nineteen companies in the Ceres-led Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy coalition say that Congressional extension of the tax credit for wind energy will improve competitiveness and create jobs.

The Production Tax Credit (PTC), originally signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, is set to expire on December 31st if Congress does not act by then to extend it. Extending the PTC, which provides a tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of renewable power, is supported by President Obama; Republican candidate Mitt Romney says he wants to end it.

Nineteen companies—many of which are members of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), a coalition of companies directed by Ceres—wrote to Congressional leaders this week, urging them to support the extension of the PTC.

In the l etter, the companies warned, "A failure to pass an extension will amount to levying a tax on companies committed to buying American energy and growing the US economy. In today's economic climate, a tax hike on American businesses buying American renewable energy is unwarranted."

Last month, Siemens Wind Power, a manufacturer of wind turbines, announced more than 900 layoffs, attributing them to industry uncertainty over the future of the PTC. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has reported that the industry could lose as many as 37,000 jobs in the first quarter of 2013 alone, if the tax credit is not extended.

On the other hand, Navigant Consulting has estimated that extending the PTC for four years will result in 95,000 wind-supported jobs and $16.3 billion in investment by 2016.

The companies' letter stated, "In the past decade American businesses have significantly ramped up their purchase of American wind energy," noting that the PTC has helped wind energy costs decrease by 90% since 1980. "In the seven years that the PTC has been continuously in place," the letter continued, "Installed wind capacity has grown sevenfold to nearly 47 Gigawatts representing more than $79 billion in private investment." Wind energy has accounted for 35% of new power capacity installed in the last four years.

"Failure to extend the PTC for wind would tax our companies and thousands of others like us that purchase significant amounts of renewable energy and hurt our bottom lines at a time when the economy is struggling to recover," the letter concluded. "Extending the PTC lowers prices for all consumers, keeps America competitive in a global marketplace and creates homegrown American jobs."

Signatories to the letter include the Fortune 500 companies Johnson & Johnson and Sprint Nextel. With the additional exceptions of Akamai Technologies and Pitney Bowes, all other signatories are BICEP members.


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