A Free-Market Energy Blog

Dear House: Say NO to Wind PTC (10th extension crucial for Obama’s energy/climate agenda)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 18, 2015

“The wind PTC is critical to President Obama’s recently finalized carbon regulation. One of the ‘building blocks’ used to determine state targets includes significant increased installation of renewable energy—especially wind…. Without taxpayer subsidies like the PTC, the President will be unable to achieve his arbitrary renewable energy target.”

It is time for Republicans and fiscally-minded Democrats to put up or shut up on the centerpiece of Obama energy policy: the Production Tax Credit (PTC). It is high time that cronyism be replaced by an energy policy that is taxpayer-neutral and government-neutral. Obama’s climate alarmism and world government plans can only benefit from a 10th extension of this grievous government subsidy to the Enrons and GEs of the world.

This week, the American Energy Alliance, Heritage Action for America, Club for Growth, and Americans for Prosperity sent a letter in stark opposition to the PTC to the House Ways and Means Committee. This letter, addressed to House Ways and Means Chair Paul Ryan, was cc’d to Members of the Committee, Speaker John Boehner. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

Dear Chairman Ryan:

In advance of your upcoming consideration of tax extenders legislation, we, the undersigned organizations with legislative scorecards, would urge you not to extend the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC).

For decades, wind subsidy proponents have claimed that the wind industry is on the cusp of competitiveness and that it would only need federal support for a few more years. Yet each time the subsidy faces expiration, the wind lobby clamors for yet another extension. Since the wind PTC was enacted in 1992, it has been extended 9 times.

This is unnecessary given the wind industry’s repeated claims that wind energy is booming and is currently cost competitive. It is time for this subsidy for a large, mature, multi-national industry to come to an orderly end.

Ending this subsidy is more important now than ever. While not immediately apparent, the wind PTC is critical to President Obama’s recently finalized carbon regulation. One of the “building blocks” used to determine state targets includes significant increased installation of renewable energy—especially wind. In fact, EPA assumes the wind industry will more than double its total capacity in just eight years. Without taxpayer subsidies like the PTC, the President will be unable to achieve his arbitrary renewable energy target.

By hiding the true cost of wind energy, the PTC makes the President’s carbon agenda appear less costly than it actually is. Wind energy is one of the most expensive sources of electricity: power from new wind resources is nearly four times more expensive than from existing nuclear and nearly three times more expensive than from existing coal. Perhaps the most significant thing this Congress can do to protect ratepayers and taxpayers from the damage of the President’s carbon regulation is preventing another extension of the wind PTC.

Further, if the committee is serious about tax reform, ending the PTC would send a strong signal to the public that Congress is ready to tackle this important challenge. For years, this committee has touted the economic benefits of reforming and condensing our bloated tax system. The economic benefits of ending the wind PTC are apparent, as wind energy raises electricity costs compared to existing sources. We recommend the committee stand up for American taxpayers by letting the subsidy remain expired.

Your colleagues in the Senate have already passed a tax extenders package that includes the wind PTC for another two years. The House now has a chance to take a different path by rejecting corporate welfare and business-as-usual tax policy that is hurting our country. The committee’s treatment of the wind PTC will be an important factor as we consider whether to include final passage of tax extenders on the House floor as part of our organizations key-votes for our collective scorecards.


Thomas Pyle, President, American Energy Alliance; Michael Needham, Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Action for America; David McIntosh, President, Club for Growth; Brent Gardner, Vice President, Americans for Prosperity



  1. Mark Krebs  

    Last Tuesday, E&E publishing had an article about how the solar industry will nosedive by 2017 without tax credits (http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2015/09/15/stories/1060024721).

    I assume something similar is likely be true of wind. Yet the “clean energy plan” stakes its claims upon renewables having lower LCOE’s than fossil fueled electricity. The ostensibly lower LCOE of renewables serves as the basis for weaning society off fossil fuels; including the direct use of natural gas and on the electricity (dominated by renewables).

    As evidenced by the E&E article, such technologies may not survive without subsidies. I don’t see how it’s possible that renewables can have the lowest LCOE and be at risk if subsidies are removed. But yet, such shakey LCOE’s claims appear to be the basis of the “plan.”

    Maybe Amory Lovins will explain it to me.


  2. Mary Kay Barton  

    It’s long past time to END the Wind PTC (aka: Pork-To-Cronies)! We will soon see if our elected representatives are more interested in serving U.S. ratepayers & taxpayers, or their crony pals in the wind industry.

    Consider the Texas Comptroller’s take on the $Billions being spent on wind in Texas from this good article by December, 2014 article: “More Subsidies for Big Wind,” by Robert Bryce:

    “Earlier this year, Susan Combs, the Texas comptroller of public accounts, came up with an estimate. She reported that each wind-related job in the Lone Star State (which has more wind-energy capacity than any other state) costs the state’s taxpayers about $1.7 million.

    That’s an increase over what Combs found back in December 2010, when she reported that each wind-related job was costing taxpayers $1.6 million. In an August op-ed published at Economics21, Combs said that “instead of generating jobs and providing a reliable and consistent energy source, wind projects just generate higher costs.”

    More Subsidies for Big Wind:

    Time for Wind to Stand on Its Own | Economics21:

    Even worse, as reported by Bryce in another article, each wind “job created” at GE’s Sheperd’s Flat Wind Factory cost $16.3 Million per job!

    America’s Worst Wind Energy Project:

    Even worse than the cost per job is the fact that:

    “Wind Turbines Are Climate-Change Scarecrows”:

    And the fact that industrial wind is destroying the very environment wind proponents claim they wish to save, while also distorting electricity markets and “skyrocketing” electricity rates.

    Industrial Wind vs. Rural America, Electricity Markets:

    Industrial Wind: A Net Loser, Economically, Environmentally, Technically, Civilly:


  3. arationofreason  

    Ask Denmark what the cost of their well situated wind power costs. Hint: they are scaling back the wind power installations and electricity users are paying through the nose.


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