5 Ways Capitol Hill Can Boost the American Wind Industry

This blog entry was written by Allie Brown, former Clean Energy Advocacy Manager at SACE.

Guest Blog | July 17, 2013 | Energy Policy, Wind

In a blog last week, My WINDependence Day, I discussed the patriotic elements of wind energy and the need for strong bipartisan policies to further wind energy development. Below are some of the key elements needed from Congress to create a more secure foundation for the American wind industry:

Courtesy: NREL

Extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) to a multi-year agreement.The PTC has greatly helped to expand the wind industry by providing cost-effective wind energy, creating strong incentives for wind developers, and generating a more equitable cost-competitive energy market. The PTC was extended earlier this year with support from both Democrats and Republicans, but is set to expire at the end of 2013. This short-term extension hinders long-term progress, and multi-year extensions are essential to improving stability in the wind industry.

Make offshore wind eligible for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which would provide tax incentives to help accelerate the growth of this vast, as-yet-untapped resource along our coasts. Offshore wind energy has the ability to become a large segment of our nation’s future electricity, yet initial implementation is more costly than onshore production. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) reintroduced the Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act in February. Through this act, a 30% investment tax credit would be provided for the first 3 GW of an offshore wind project.

Approve the Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act. Oil, natural gas, coal, and pipeline projects already have access to Master Limited Partnerships—a business structure that would give renewable energy companies the opportunity to raise funds like a corporation and receive favorable tax credits. This act, introduced by Senator Coons (D-Del) with support from both parties, would level the energy-sector playing field and expand low cost benefits to the wind industry.

Support the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) at the federal level. This standard, already supported in 29 states, has greatly encouraged the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources and helped utilities set specific dates and targets for renewable energy production. Currently, North Carolina is the only Southeast state that has adopted an RPS. Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Udall (D-NM) have both introduced bills that would support a national standard of 25% renewable energy by 2025.

Provide strong transmission policies that would create a more modern power grid connection. While the Southeast has great potential for both land-based and offshore wind, transmission provides the opportunity to bring wind power to energy users by wire. Alabama Power, Georgia Power, and Tennessee Valley Authority are already recognizing the economic advantages that wind energy can bring to southern homes through recent power purchase agreements with wind farms in the Midwest. A modern grid is necessary to bring these power purchases to life.

All of the policies mentioned above would provide a more secure future for the American wind industry and could help increase the utilization of wind energy here in the Southeast.  But what can the average person do to support our nation’s wind industry? SACE provides many opportunities to take action in your state. Our Contact Congress page contains contact information as well as useful letter writing tips. You can also subscribe to the E-News alerts and be contacted via email when critical “take action” steps are needed to bring clean energy to the Southeast. Additionally, the events page will inform you of upcoming wind-energy related events.

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