December 17, 2014

Senate Joins House in Passing Laughable PTC Bill

Congress misses opportunity to provide certainty to clean energy job creators

Statement by Steve Clemmer, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (December 17, 2014) – On Tuesday, the Senate passed a tax extender bill that once again leaves clean energy job creators in limbo. Under this bill, which has now passed in both the Senate and the House, the Production Tax Credit (PTC)—an effective federal incentive that supports business development of wind and other renewable energy sources—will only be retroactively renewed through 2014.

Below is a statement by Steve Clemmer, director of energy research and analysis with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“Passing a bill that effectively extends the PTC for two weeks is laughable. It doesn’t provide the certainty the renewable energy industry needs to develop projects, secure financing and sign power purchase agreements, which can often take up to two years.

“The last time Congress allowed the PTC to expire and retroactively extended it for one year, U.S. wind installations dropped by more than 90 percent, investment in state and local economies fell by $24 billion, and wind manufacturers cut thousands of good, high-paying jobs. Unfortunately, Congress passed on the opportunity to prevent this from happening again by failing to extend the PTC for at least two years, as proposed in the bipartisan EXPIRE Act, which the Senate passed in April.

“Science confirms climate change is real and the impacts will keep getting worse and more costly until we make a wholesale shift to clean energy. Because renewable energy sources such as wind and solar photovoltaics do not use any water to generate electricity, they make the grid more resilient to drought and heat waves that are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change. Until Congress passes a meaningful climate policy, federal tax credits for renewables are one of the best tools in our arsenal to reduce carbon emissions and save water.

“Continuing to reward permanent subsidies to industries, which have cost the nation billions of dollars in health care costs and climate change damages, while simultaneously cutting incentives for clean energy alternatives, defies logic. Any efforts to eliminate clean energy tax incentives like the PTC should be accompanied by a phase-out of subsidies for the mature fossil fuel and nuclear power industries. The time has come for Congress to move past the rhetoric and achieve true parity in the tax code.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.