Environment
7:23 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Environmental Groups: "Extend Wind Power Tax Credits"

Environmental advocacy groups are pushing Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senators to support the extension of two tax credits that aid the wind power industry.  The renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC) which both support the construction of new wind farms, are due to end come January.

Daniel Lagiovane, Project Communications Manager for Everpower, a Pittsburgh area wind power company, said if the tax credits expire, the wind industry will be “severely hampered."

“It may not be the death of [wind power] but it will pretty much hinder us for years to come,” Lagiovane said.  “The growth of wind will probably slow to very pre-2000 levels of wind where very few wind farms are being delveloped.”

Lagiovane noted that even if the tax credits are renewed, the wind industry for the next year is in trouble.

“Projects, because of the ordering of components like wind turbines, have to be done early fourth quarter at the latest,” Lagiovane said.  “So as turbine manufacturers are starting to disappear and lay off, the ability to get turbines for next year are almost non existent.”

But it’s nothing the wind industry can’t rebound from, said Lagiovane.  The tax credits have expired, extended and been renewed several times since they were originally enacted in 1992.  According to Lagiovane, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is on board, but Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) isn’t.

“Jobs are being lost almost daily now at a time when the state needs jobs,” Lagiovane said.  “[Toomey] made a pledge to try to bring jobs to the state and yet he’s let jobs just disappear when all he has to do is be able to support something that not only benefits the economy but also the environment.”

The activist group PennEnvironment estimates Pennsylvania’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 218,000 cars off the road per year and, if wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years through 2016, Pennsylvania would reduce global warming pollution by as much as taking an additional 185,000 cars off the road.