Message to Congress: Don't throw wind energy off the fiscal cliff



By Liz Enbysk

SGN Managing Editor


Suggesting Hurricane Sandy has prompted more Americans to call for action to tackle global warming, Environment America released a report Wednesday showing current power generation from wind can prevent as much global warming pollution as taking 13 million cars off the road each year. The group used the report to push for extension of the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit. Both are set to expire at the end of this year if Congress doesn't act.


"Our message to Congress is clear: Don’t throw wind power off the fiscal cliff,” said Courtney Abrams with Environment America. "Our clean air, water, and children’s future are too important to blow it now.”


The report -- Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution and Saving Water - suggests wind energy also saves water. The organization contends more water is withdrawn from lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers in the United States for the purpose of cooling power plants than for any other purpose. Environment America says wind energy "saves enough water to supply the annual water needs of a city the size of Boston."


Environment America, which describes itself as a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations, was joined in urging Congress to extend the tax credits by several Senate Democrats.


"Extending the wind Production Tax Credit is one of the most straightforward ways we can support clean, Made-in-America energy and American manufacturing jobs. We need the PTC to help create more good-paying jobs here at home, including jobs for our veterans who are transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce," U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) said. "The wind PTC is also a commonsense way to support clean energy and to reduce our carbon emissions. It is critical that Congress extend the PTC ASAP and support clean, renewable wind energy."


Though there have been shows of bipartisan support for the extension both in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere across the country, trying to second-guess what Congress might do in the next few weeks is a crap shoot at best.


And there are plenty who think the extension is bad policy, for a variety of reasons.