Governors ask president to focus on wind energy deployment

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, August 25 - A coalition of 24 governors from both major parties and each region of the country has asked the administration to take a series of steps to provide a more favorable business climate for the development of wind energy, starting with a seven-year extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to provide stable, low tax rates for wind-generated electricity.


A letter from the Governors Wind Energy Coalition and signed by coalition chair Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I-RI), and vice chair Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) was sent to the White House last month, but only recently made public. The coalition represents states with significant rural and coastal areas that offer considerable wind energy resources.


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The letter cites long-term bipartisan support for the tax credits, but notes they are scheduled to expire next year. "Wind-related manufacturing will slow if the credits are not extended, and some of the tax credits' benefit will be lost if Congress pursues a last-minute extension," the governors said. "It is important to have consistency in policy to support the continued development of wind manufacturing in the United States. Extending the production tax credit and the investment tax credit, without a gap, is critical to the health of wind manufacturing in our nation. The wind manufacturing industry in the U.S. would benefit even greater if the extension of these credits would be for at least seven years."


American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode said that governors "have always focused on jobs and economic development as their main responsibility. Now that Washington is following suit, it helps for these governors to tell Washington what has been putting people to work in their states,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “It is also helpful for them to support the removal of roadblocks that can occur in administrative agencies, so that deployment objectives are not unintentionally thwarted."

The governors' letter also calls for:


Establishing a combined intergovernmental state-federal task force on wind energy development to "ensure the Administration's wind energy goals are met." 


 Expanding the Department of Energy's renewable energy programs to "focus not only on technology research and innovation, but also on technology deployment and market development," noting that, “these are precisely the types of efforts other nations are utilizing to successfully compete with the United States. We must recognize that a scientific breakthrough five or 10 years from now, plus several more years for commercial acceptance, will be of little value if our wind industry has been relegated to minor players in the global marketplace."


Improved collaboration on siting new wind turbines: "... [W]e believe wind energy and wildlife protection are entirely compatible and we urge a prompt resolution of the Wind Energy Guidelines and Eagle Guidance concerns." 


 Expediting deployment of offshore wind: "A new U.S. offshore wind sector would create tens of thousands of jobs in businesses ranging from R&D and engineering to manufacturing and marine construction." 


 Identifying transmission and grid integration priorities for Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) such as the Bonneville Power Administration.




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