Extension of federal wind power tax credit makes sense

Published: February 26, 2012

THE president's campaign staffers aren't the only team advocating for another term. They're joined by a bipartisan, ideologically diverse group pushing for renewal of the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind power.

Energy-related tax incentives are about as old as the use of electricity to light homes. Decades-old credits for fossil fuels were joined in 1992 by the PTC, which has stimulated investment in wind power — from the manufacturing of equipment to the construction and maintenance of the turbines that are now a common sight in western Oklahoma.

The latest PTC will expire at the end of the year unless Congress and President Obama act to extend it. This needs to happen.

Unfortunately, Obama is pursuing a divisive strategy in urging support for renewable energy credits while pushing punitive policies for the oil and gas industry. This comes at a time when Obama's second-term chances are somewhat reduced due to rapidly rising gasoline prices.

Obama's “all of the above” strategy for energy development is hollow when he seeks to extend his standard class warfare arguments to energy. Americans are embracing renewable energy, but they also want a stable, affordable, domestic supply of oil.

Wind is huge in Oklahoma. Twelve counties in the western half of the state have turbines. Manufacturing facilities for wind power equipment can be found in three counties.

Denise Bode, a former Oklahoma Corporation Commission member and now head of the American Wind Energy Association, says the state's potential to produce power from wind is ranked ninth in the United States. In terms of how much capacity it added last year alone, Oklahoma ranked fifth. The state is now eighth in total installed wind capacity.

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