Business leaders urge PTC extension

A group of 19 businesses wrote to Congressional leaders on Sept. 18 to urge an extension of the federal production tax credit for wind energy before the current legislative session ends this year.

The pending lapse of the 2.2 cents per kWh credit has led to dire predictions for the wind industry. Projects nationwide have been cancelled and factories that supply wind turbine components and towers have either shut down or scaled back operations as orders for 2013 have dried up.

“A failure to pass an extension will amount to levying a tax on companies committed to buying American energy and growing the U.S. economy. In today’s economic climate, a tax hike on American businesses buying American renewable energy is unwarranted,” the letter said.

Businesses that wrote the letter include Annie’s, Inc., Ben & Jerry’s, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss & Co., Pitney Bowes, Sprint, Starbucks and Yahoo!

“The PTC has enabled the industry to slash wind energy costs – 90% since 1980 – a big reason why companies like ours are buying increasing amounts of renewable energy. Wind now supplies over 3% of US demand and accounts for 35% of new power capacity installed in the last four years,” the letter continued.

Separately, individual companies backed the proposal in a statement by Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy, a group affiliated with the investor sustainability organization Ceres.

“Sprint has committed to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and increase its use of renewable energy sources for electricity,” said Amy Hargroves, manager, corporate social responsibility at Sprint. “That’s why we have been actively working to meet our goal to secure 10% of our total electricity through renewable energy sources by 2017.  We support the extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind because it has enabled companies like Sprint to make the shift to abundant, clean, and homegrown wind energy.”