Maine Citizens: “Leave the PTC Dead” Dear Senators Collins and King, Representatives Michaud & Pingree:
We, the undersigned, join thousands of American taxpayers and ratepayers in urging you and your colleagues to eliminate the Production Tax Credit (PTC). The Wind Lobby has been on notice for years that the 22-year old PTC would expire and it has, numerous times. We flatly reject policy actions by Congress, especially during this lame duck session, to reinstitute the credit. You now know that development of wind power in the United States does not reduce our need to maintain and build firm capacity generation, nor does it add materially to employment. The insignificant amount of energy it generates is low-quality and high impact. Maine is not Iowa, a wind-rich state heavily dependent on coal. Our famed Quality of Place” is our calling card, and the PTC poses the biggest single threat to it. This tax policy has fostered a rush of developers who are rewarded for siting turbines on every free acre that has or might get transmission access, no matter who is in the way and no matter the cost to citizens. We have seen this in unspoiled Maine places, despite the fact that our wind resource quality is not good, and despite the fact that Maine’s electricity generation is nearly the country’s cleanest. The issues arising from wind energy expansion impact energy prices and disrupt otherwise functional markets. The PTC provides project owners with a significant out-of-market revenue source1 which incites predatory pricing practices that unfairly harm the economics of reliable firm capacity generators. Moreover, while Maine has spent a billion dollars on wind turbines (and even more money on concomitant transmission buildup) our critical energy infrastructure investments have been gone wanting. This negligent misallocation of scarce resources is now harming every Maine ratepayer and business, in the form of outrageous energy costs. There is no justification for a government program that exacerbates such injury. After 22-years of tax credits, the business of Big Wind is not about energy production. It is about tax-avoidance. Indeed, an entire speculation market system has evolved because of these subsidies, which dwarf the subsidies given to conventional energy sources on a productivity basis. Warren Buffet recently reminded us that his wind investment makes no sense without handouts from taxpayers. Wind energy has had its “training wheels” for far too long. The attachment takes a closer look at the reasons why the PTC needs to remain dead. After more than two decades, the Wind Lobby is well situated to stand on its own without the PTC. Your constituents know it and you should, too. We respectfully request that Congress resist any temptation to reinstitute the expired PTC and the investment tax credit (ITC). 1
At 2.3¢/kWh, the subsidy's pre-tax value (3.5¢/kWh) equals, or exceeds the wholesale price of power in much of the country.