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posted: 11/4/2012 6:00 AM

Extend tax credit for wind energy

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A critical piece of national legislation is the Production Tax Credit (PTC) that is important to the continued growth of the wind energy industry. In Illinois this industry is shedding jobs on just the threat of the tax credit not being extended. With so much talk on energy and jobs, allowing this tax credit to expire is inexcusable. The very profitable industries of coal, oil and natural gas receive many times more tax credits and subsidies than renewables. It's time to level the playing field.

There are many reasons why we should care. Recently the Department of Energy released a report on the potential offered by renewables (Technical Report NREL/TP-6A20-51946). For the U.S., renewables offer a generation potential that is 128 times our need. In Illinois, this study states just onshore wind offers a potential of 650,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) compared with current retail sales of 145,000 GWh. That's almost 4.5 times our need with negligible pollution, greenhouse gases, water usage, health effects and many other benefits. This doesn't take into account the many other types of clean energy sources like solar that this state could and should also generate.

For consumers, wind energy is proving to be one of the paths to cheap energy. Since the fuel is free, it is already driving down the cost of electricity and so much so that Exelon is fighting the PTC, after being a beneficiary, because it is driving down their margins on their nuclear generated electricity. With benefits including lower prices, more jobs, little environmental impact, no health effects, and contributing to energy independence, the wind industry deserves public support. I encourage you to contact your U.S. representative and voice your support for extending this tax credit which will return benefits to us for generations to come.

Peter Gorr


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