Wind credit energizes presidential debate

Wind energy got two thumbs up in the presidential debate on Oct. 16 from both presidential candidates. But only one gave an unqualified endorsement as promoting it as either a stand-alone energy source or one which could be paired with other renewables, like solar.

The presidential candidates sparred over fossil fuels and renewable energy during the Oct. 16 presidential debate, as wind energy was mentioned six times in the presidential debate, three by each candidate.

Gov. Mitt Romney mentioned renewables in the context of all other energy sources, pairing references to wind and solar with fossil fuels. He is already on record advocating a lapse of the production tax credit when it expires at the end of the year.

“I want to make sure we use our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables. I believe very much in our renewable capabilities — ethanol, wind, solar will be an important part of our energy mix. But what we don’t need is to have the president keeping us from taking advantage of oil, coal and gas,” was one response by Romney.

For President Barack Obama, the green jobs agenda, paired with the PTC, is joined with a specific policy point.

“So for example, on wind energy, when Governor Romney says these are imaginary jobs, when you’ve got thousands of people right now in Iowa, right now in Colorado who are working, creating wind power, with good- paying manufacturing jobs, and the Republican senator in that — in Iowa is all for it, providing tax credits to help this work and Governor Romney says, ‘I’m opposed, I’d get rid of it,’ that’s not an energy strategy for the future. And we need to win that future, and I intend to win it as president of the United States,” Obama said

The pointed reference to Iowa highlight bit of a split in the Republican Party. Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa is known as the father of the PTC. Colorado is the home of four manufacturing plants of Danish wind turbine maker Vestas, which has laid off hundreds in recent months as business declines in anticipation of the PTC lapse.

“I don’t have a policy of — of stopping wind jobs in Iowa and that — they’re not phantom jobs. They’re real jobs,” Romney replied.

Given the nature of candidate debates, there were not many details offered.