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4/02/2014
How much will the wind PTC add to the national debt?
See Energy Analyst, Glenn Schleede's letter on the PTC to various senators below. Glenn says, "Feel free to use it in whole or part with or without attribution" when contacting senators' offices, and to please don't forget their in-state offices. Their telephone and fax numbers can be found on members' web sites.

How much will Senator Grassley’s plan to extend the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) add to the national debt we are passing along to our children and grandchildren?

by Glenn Schleede

April 2, 2014

How much will Senator Grassley’s plan to extend the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) add to the national debt we are passing along to our children and grandchildren?

On Thursday, April 3, 2014, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is expected to consider and report out to the full Senate a bill that would extend various federal tax breaks. 

Senator Grassley (R-IA) has announced that he will amend this tax break “extender” bill to continue for two more years the wind “Production Tax Credit” (PTC) that benefits corporations that own “wind farms.” Owners of “wind farms” would be able to reduce their income tax liability by $0.023 (adjusted upward for inflation) for each kilowatt-hour of electricity produced by their wind turbines during the next 10 years. 

The wind PTC was initially passed in 1992 as a temporary incentive to help a then fledgling industry – with the expectation that wind energy would be environmentally benign and become economically competitive. However, after 20 years of lucrative wind energy tax breaks and subsidies valued at over $100 billion:

· Producing electricity from wind has proven to have numerous adverse environmental, economic, electric system reliability, scenic, and property value impacts not originally foreseen and still not admitted by wind industry advocates; and

· Electricity from wind remains high in true cost and low in real value – with the wind industry providing no evidence that electricity from wind will ever be commercially viable (i.e., without large tax breaks and subsidies).

Grassley’s proposed 2-year extension of the wind PTC would add more than $20 billion to the huge national debt that Congress is loading on to our children and grandchildren. That $20 billion would be in addition to the hundred plus billions that have already been lavished on the wind industry since the wind PTC was instigated by Senator Grassley in 1992!

Further, since the Government must pay interest on the national debt and Congress has shown no intention of paying off the national debt the burden of tax breaks such as the wind PTC will grow and grow – more than doubling the debt over the next two decades even if interest charges average only 4% per year and there was no more annual federal budget deficits.

Clearly, it is time for all members of Congress, including Senator Grassley, to resist pressure from the wind industry and stand up for today’s tax payers – and even more so for our children and grandchildren who will bear – unfairly -- the debt that is being passed on to them.

Glenn R. Schleede
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