Congress failed to extend generous tax credits to wind power producers this year after conservatives spent months campaigning to let the subsidies die.
In a reversal of fortune, the wind industry was unable to get another extension of the Wind Production Tax Credit, which pays wind producers to generate wind energy for ten years. The credit was heavily opposed by conservative groups and many Republicans who saw it as a 20-year taxpayer handout.
“The wind industry has very little to show after 20 years of preferential tax treatment; it remains woefully dependent on this federal support,” reads a letter signed by 102 conservative groups, led by Americans for Prosperity, to Members of Congress. “Yet despite this consistent under-performance, Congress has repeatedly voted to extend the PTC, usually in 1- or 2-year increments.”
The wind PTC expired on Tuesday night after Congress failed to pass legislation extending the tax credits. However, this does not mean that wind tax subsidies are dead.
The wind PTC has not been extended at least twice in the past, but has eventually resurfaced after lawmakers were able to negotiate an extension. At the end of 2012, wind PTC supporters in Congress were able to attach extending wind subsidies as part of a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of sharp tax increases and spending cuts.
However, this year there was no such deal and Republicans in the House and Senate made efforts to make sure the wind PTC was ended.