Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall today urged their Senate colleagues to pass a bill that would extend the wind energy production tax credit (PTC), along with several other renewable energy incentives, such as biofuels. The bill is paid for with a repeal of tax subsidies for the five biggest oil and gas companies while preserving tax incentives for small independent producers of natural gas and oil in Colorado and other states.
The Senate voted this evening to begin debate on the bill.
The senators are working to prevent a lapse in the wind energy PTC that has been a crucial driver for thousands of Colorado jobs and is scheduled to expire at the end of the year. The wind energy sector has already begun layoffs in anticipation of this tax credit expiring.
"This tax credit has been a boost to jobs creation in Colorado and across the country," Bennet said. "Wind energy now supports more than 6,000 jobs in Colorado alone, but we are at risk of losing them every day we delay this extension. This bill gives us another chance to provide certainty, save jobs and continue to move toward a clean energy economy."
"Investing in the PTC is not only vital to protecting and creating thousands of Colorado jobs, it's key to making Colorado the country's leader in clean energy production," Udall said. "As one of the fastest-growing energy sources in the country, we can't afford to lose the momentum we've gained in wind energy production and the position it places Colorado in to be a leader in renewable energy. Rising energy prices and the pinch that families are experiencing as a result are a reminder of why we need affordable, secure and clean energy to power our economy. Passing this tax credit is a crucial step to getting us there."
The Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, which was introduced by Senator Robert Menedez of New Jersey, would close tax loopholes and end subsidies for the five biggest and most-profitable oil and gas companies in the world, raising enough revenue to fully fund several expired and expiring renewable energy tax credits, including those for wind energy production, energy-efficient homes, biofuels and others.
Both Bennet and Udall have been vocal proponents of extending the wind PTC because of the tremendous economic potential the clean energy industry holds for Colorado as new jobs, technologies and businesses are created. The Colorado Senators have advanced bipartisan efforts, with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) as well as with members of the Colorado Delegation, to include the wind PTC extension in several bills. They have recently partnered with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to introduce the American Energy and Job Promotion Act, a bipartisan bill to extend the PTC for wind and several other renewable energy technologies.
The Senators hope to pass the extension as quickly as possible in order to give tax certainty to Colorado's burgeoning renewable energy industries.