Posted 3 years ago
By Fred Gough
The Board of Directors of the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce has adopted a position in support for the adoption of a national clean energy policy including a one-time five-year extension of the Federal Production Tax Credit with a recommended phase-out schedule of 20% per year.
They says the extension of the PTC is a key mechanism for providing certainty to investors to encourage investment and job creation. Our country and our economy cannot afford to give up or delay a decision on extending this important tax credit. Investors and businesses need certainty now, without which jobs and capital go elsewhere. Ending the Production Tax Credit for wind will cost our communities jobs as is evidenced by the recent announcement by Siemens to layoff over 250 people at the Hutchinson Nacelle plant.
They add that in the past, when Congress has let the wind component of the PTC expire, installations have decreased dramatically the next year. Failure to extend the PTC will lead to significant job losses and roll back progress that we have made as a nation to diversify by providing alternative clean energy sources. The wind industry wants predictability (or as much as possible) from its government. What has happened with the PTC has been the exact opposite.
They then argue that if Congress would extend the PTC five years with a ramp down to zero by the end of the fifth year, that will allow the market to prepare for a predictable and reasonable end to tax credits and they will plan and react accordingly. The wind industry has come so far in such a short time. Manufacturers believe they can get to grid parity with other forms of energy in those five years and would rather have a ramp down and predictability than simply another year-long extension with yet another battle on the horizon.
Alternative energy development must be viewed as a long term proposition. The Chamber will continue to urge and support the passage of a national clean energy policy including the need to reform the tax code to take advantage of the nation’s strengths.
This position as adopted by the Board of Directors sends a clear message and reinforces the Chamber’s mission statement toward commitment to economic vitality through job creation efforts and encouraging new capital investment throughout the community and State of Kansas.
Senator Jerry Moran and Governor Sam Brownback both support this position, while Congressman Tim Huelskamp opposes it.
It’s unlikely anything will be done on any extension until after the election.