U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, recently defended his leading the fight against the wind production tax credit, a tool that helps keep electricity prices low, promotes economic development, and encourages development of proven clean energy (Sept. 30 Opinion). He also referred to his so-called Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act and claimed that it would level the playing field. The most cursory examination shows that, in fact, his bill is a lopsided, anti-wind formula that hurts Kansas workers and impedes the progress we’re making toward energy independence.
The PTC is due to expire at the end of the year, and as time runs out for the program, announcements of new wind-energy industry layoffs grow by the day. According to Navigant Consulting, 37,000 Americans stand to lose their jobs by the end of the first quarter of 2013 if Congress does not extend the PTC. Hundreds of Kansans are losing their jobs in the manufacturing sector, and wind-energy development companies are also ramping down operations.
Pompeo states over and over that he should not be picking winners and losers in Congress and neither should our federal government. However, his legislation leaves in subsidies for oil and gas industry while targeting the PTC. That’s a choice.
A member of Congress should be working to bring economic opportunity home to the district – not actively punishing an industry sector his district is uniquely positioned to lead.
We need to end the disinformation and political posturing that target the PTC while declaring sacred the federal subsidies for oil, gas and nuclear power.
Using no water, with no emissions and no fuel costs, wind power is bringing economic development to rural Kansas while providing affordable electricity to serve Kansas cities and for export to other states. Due in large part to the PTC, Kansas today is first in the nation in economic investment from wind generation. In 2012 Kansas was the recipient of more than $3 billion in new wind-generation projects as we double our wind-generation fleet.
The PTC has been a tool to keep manufacturing jobs in America, refine and enhance wind technology, and create a boom in on-shoring jobs in Kansas and other states. More than 65 percent of a Kansas-installed turbine’s value is produced right here in America, at facilities such as the Siemens plant in Hutchinson.
We can’t let Congress pull the plug on the PTC.