WASHINGTON -- Staples, Starbucks, Nike, Levi Strauss & Co., Campbell Soup, Yahoo and other large corporate purchasers of renewable energy delivered a letter today to Congressional leadership asking for an extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind power – scheduled to expire in December 2012.
The letter calls on Congress to include an extension of the PTC in this week’s payroll tax-cut extension legislation. A ‘no’ vote on the extension will immediately threaten over 400 wind manufacturing facilities in 43 states that risk layoffs and shutdowns for lack of orders.
The letter was signed by 15 companies, many of them members of Business for Innovative Climate & Clean Energy (BICEP). Some of the companies signing the letter, including Starbucks and Staples, get over half of their US electricity from wind and other renewable energy sources.
“The PTC has enabled the wind industry to slash wind energy costs – 90 percent since 1980 – a big reason why companies like ours are buying increasing amounts of wind energy,” the letter states. “Failure to extend the PTC for wind would tax our companies and thousands of others like us that purchase significant amounts renewable energy and hurt our bottom line at a time when the economy is struggling to recover.”
The PTC provides a tax credit of 2.2 cents per megawatt hour of generated electricity for wind developers, which translates to lower delivered cost of the resource. Since the PTC was enacted seven years ago, wind power capacity has increased by 47,000 megawatts, a seven-fold increase.
The companies warned Congress that “eliminating the PTC will sharply increase prices for wind energy and particularly affect the many large and influential companies that are already committed to buying and using wind energy.“
It will also shut down much of a thriving U.S. manufacturing sector, one of the fastest-growing sources of factory jobs even in the depths of the economic slowdown.
Corporate leaders across diverse industries are rapidly increasing their use of wind energy. Wind energy serves to bring down the marginal costs for electric power, enabling large power purchasers to incorporate wind power into their energy portfolios at a competitive price, making them better prepared to handle volatility in the market.
“We’re proud to be one of the nation’s largest purchasers of American wind energy,” said Ben Packard, VP Global Responsibility at Starbucks. “We’re committed to renewable energy. Our goal is to make renewables account for 100 percent of our energy portfolio in the next two years.”
“Wind producers, business customers, investors – even conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats – all agree: the PTC for wind power is working,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, which coordinates the business network, Business for Innovative Climate & Clean Energy (BICEP). www.ceres.org/bicep “America is on the verge of establishing a world-leading wind industry that will give U.S. companies a powerful and permanent competitive advantage: a cheap, clean, and inexhaustible supply of electricity that is immune to global fuel price shocks and the international crises that cause them.”
The Production Tax Credit for wind has been in place without interruption since 2005 and has led to 47 GW of new wind capacity, equal to about 94 power plants, spurring nearly $70 billion in private investment, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Largely owing to the PTC, wind energy accounted for 35% of new electrical generation capacity installed in the past four years, and now supplies 20% of electricity needs in states like Iowa and South Dakota. Nationwide the wind energy industry supplies close to 4% of electricity nationwide and on track so far to make 20% of all of America’s electricity by the year 2030, as projected by the George W. Bush administration.
The deadline for including an extension of the wind PTC in comprehensive payroll tax cut legislation is midnight February 29th, 2012, but action could come as soon as tomorrow as House and Senate conferees wrestle with the details.
ABOUT BUSINESS FOR INNOVATIVE CLIMATE AND ENERGY POLICY (BICEP)
BICEP is an advocacy coalition of businesses committed to working with policy makers to pass meaningful energy and climate legislation enabling a rapid transition to a low-carbon, 21st century economy – an economy that will create new jobs and stimulate economic growth while stabilizing our planet’s fragile climate. BICEP is a project of Ceres. www.ceres.org/bicep
Ceres is an advocate for sustainability leadership. It leads a national coalition of major investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change and water scarcity. Its mission is integrating sustainability into day-to-day business practices for the health of the planet and its people. www.ceres.org