Alexander Pillories Wind PTC

Congress is at long last coming to grips with the failure that is the wind production tax credit (PTC). The bill passed by the House Thursday will cut the rate at which wind production is subsidized by about one-third and will allow the quarter-century-old program to finally end as scheduled in 2020.

Hurdles still remain on the Senate side of things and the fight is far from over. At least one senator, however, isn’t afraid to call out the wind PTC as the costly, cronyistic subsidy that it is. That senator is Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn). Senator Alexander took to the floor on Tuesday to decry the wasteful history of the PTC and enjoin his colleague to discontinue it by year’s end.


Alexander described the wind PTC as “at the top of the list” of wasteful spending that should be addressed in the tax reform debate. By eliminating the subsidy on December 31, 2017, rather than phasing it out, taxpayers will be saved $4 billion according to figures cited by Alexander on the floor.

As he pointed out, wind PTC advocates can no longer claim this is a short-term support for an infant industry. The PTC has been extended seven times, has cost us tens of billions of dollars, and yet wind still produces just one-twentieth of our electricity.

We commend Senator Alexander on his continued realist stance on the wind PTC and echo his closing remark:

“I’m here to challenge my colleagues to be willing to consider all energy subsidies for mature technologies–wind, solar, oil, gas–as candidates for elimination in a tax reform bill. Those dollars could be better spent to lower rates for taxpayers.”

Senator Alexander’s comments can be viewed here in the recording of Tuesday’s proceedings by jumping to the 7 hour, 28 minute mark.

To read AEA President Tom Pyle’s comments on the passing of the House tax bill and its wind PTC reductions click here.

To read the Institute for Energy Research’s 2014 white paper on the wind PTC click here.

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