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The Oregonian
September 8, 2012

Wind tax credit builds industry, jobs, economy in Oregon

An Oregonian editorial recently asked: Why not let the wind tax credit expire? (Aug. 28)

The answer: Letting the wind energy production tax credit die will hurt our economy, environment, energy needs and security at the local, state and national levels.

Just look at what wind energy has done in Oregon. According to Renewable Northwest, a renewable energy trade association, wind companies have invested more than $4.5 billion in Oregon. Wind energy is supporting 3,000 Oregon jobs and is providing millions in tax revenues for schools and public safety. Oregon's wind energy industry is also helping farmers and ranchers survive difficult economic times in rural communities.

Nationally, the wind industry estimates that wind energy supports 75,000 jobs and, in 2011, new wind energy installations accounted for $14 billion in investment.

The PTC has been critical to wind energy's success and continues to act as a job and investment multiplier. The Oregonian argues that because of a temporary spike in cheap natural gas, the PTC should be allowed to expire. Leaving aside the numerous negative environmental impacts of the hydraulic fracking of natural gas, the editorial fails to mention that all energy sources are subsidized. From natural gas, to nuclear to hydro and beyond, the taxpayers are underwriting all forms of energy development.

Compared with the longstanding subsidies for fossil fuels, subsides for the wind industry are young and relatively short-lived. It takes time to fully develop new energy technologies, and the PTC and other subsidies exist to facilitate that development. Suggesting that temporary, renewable energy policies should expire while allowing permanent fossil-fuel subsidies to live on is not a sustainable solution to develop a long-term and secure energy policy for our country. Wind energy, like all energy sectors, will always be in competition with other power sources. We need to give wind energy time to become fully self-sufficient, a goal the industry is working toward and not far from achieving.


To continue reading Bill Bradbury's op-ed in The Oregonian, please click here:

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