Regarding your recent editorial on the wind Production Tax Credit, American wind power is a success story that has strong bipartisan support in Congress and from the overwhelming majority of the public. Wind energy creates well-paying jobs, lower electric bills, and a more diverse portfolio of energy sources.
Today, wind power supports American 80,000 jobs and is on track to support 500,000 American jobs by 2030. In 2012, wind energy contributed $25 billion in private investment to the economy. Seventy percent of the value of the average U.S. wind turbine is now made in America, with 550 manufacturing facilities across 44 states. Wind power has strong support in the communities that are benefitting the most from these investments, and more than 70 percent of wind farms and wind manufacturing facilities are located in Republican Congressional districts.
Growing wind power helps keep electric bills low for homeowners and businesses. A May 2013 Synapse Energy Economics report found that doubling the use of wind energy in the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lake states would save consumers close to $7 billion per year, and more than a dozen other studies from state governments and grid operators confirm that finding. Because wind energy has no fuel costs, it also protects consumers from volatility in energy prices, much like fixed rate mortgages protect consumers from interest rate fluctuations.
The original editorial failed to mention that all forms of energy receive federal support, with the Nuclear Energy Institute's own tally finding that cumulative incentives for fossil and nuclear fuels more than nine times larger than those awarded to renewable energy. The Production Tax Credit simply provides tax relief for those investing in wind projects, with other taxes on these wind energy investments more than repaying the tax relief they receive.
Wind power is a good deal for the American economy.
Michael Goggin is a senior electric industry analyst for the American Wind Energy Association, and in that role analyzes the impact of wind on electricity markets and the power system.