By Representative Randy Neugebauer
Last Saturday's paper featured a letter on the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy. I'd like to address the issue and my position on it.
I'm a strong supporter of the wind industry and have voted for PTC extensions in the past. The current debate centers on whether to extend it past its expiration Jan. 1, 2013. After that, new wind installations would no longer be eligible for the credit, but existing projects would continue to receive the subsidy for ten years.
While the PTC has helped establish a strong wind industry, it hasn't come cheaply. It cost $4.4 billion from 2010 to 2012. That's no small chunk of change. With record deficits, we must carefully examine our spending priorities.
The PTC has helped the wind industry establish itself, particularly in Texas. However, wind energy must become self-sufficient. I've spoken to industry leaders who agree it can be cost competitive, without subsidies, in a few years. That's why I support a gradual phase-out of the PTC for new installations. Since operating wind farms will still claim the credit for ten years, the industry would have the time to adjust to changing policy. A gradual phase-out offers much-needed certainty, and ensures taxpayers aren't permanently covering the costs of an industry that can stand on its own feet.
I'm proud to represent the most productive wind energy region in the country. As always, my office is available for comments and questions. I hope to hear from you soon.