6:34am

Sat December 15, 2012
Politics

Udall Gives 27th Speech On Wind Tax Credit As Deadline Looms

27 speeches on the Senate floor. Each one different. With time running out to extend the Wind Tax Credit, Senator Mark Udall once again took to the floor pushing for its extension.

Mike Saccone, Udall's press secretary, says there is a good chance the extension will be approved with bipartisan support.

“Senator Udall is going to keep going to the floor pushing for this. And we’re hopeful this will get done at the end of the year. Whether that will be in a standalone bill, or as part of a grand bargain –a compromise to keep us from going over the fiscal cliff, we’re not sure yet. But we’re going to get this done.”

Advocates say the tax credit is an incentive that will expand wind energy technology, and keep electricity rates low. Opponents on the other hand, say it will artificially prop up jobs in the industry and shift labor and capital away from other, more productive sectors of the economy.

Bolstering that view, Forbes reports that the wind energy sector receives over 50 times more subsidy support per megawatt hour than coal.

Comparing the taxpayer costs per job for wind vs. the oil and gas sector, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Robert Bryce estimates the former to be 15 times more. He arrived at this number by dividing the PTC $12.18 billion extension by 37,000 jobs purported to be saved per year spread over a decade, amounting to $32,900 per job annually. Then, applying March Congressional Budget Office figures putting tax preferences extended to the fossil fuel sector at a total of about $2.5 billion per year, along with an American Petroleum Institute estimate that the oil and gas sector employs 1.2 million people (not including service stations), that works out to $2,100 per job, per year.

Most of Colorado’s Congressional delegation is working toward renewing the Wind Tax Credit. The tax credit will expire Dec 31st, unless Congress acts.