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Key-Vote Alert: Heitkamp Wind PTC Amendment
Vote s40-2015

Today, the Senate will vote on amendment #133 by Sen. Heitkamp, which is a Sense of Congress that the Wind PTC should be extended for five years.

Heitkamp’s amendment calls on Congress to put a “long-term, predictable policy in place” as it relates to the PTC. The best way to do that is to permanently end the wind PTC. Congress enacted the PTC in 1992 as a temporary kick-start for an infant industry. More than two decades and multiple extensions later, wind lobbyists are still pushing for more handouts.

Unfortunately, this all comes at the detriment of the American taxpayer. The wind PTC amounts to a massive wealth transfer from American taxpayers to multinational wind companies. The one-year retroactive extension of the wind PTC passed at the end of 2014 is estimated to cost the American people $6.4 billion.

The PTC is such a large subsidy, wind producers can pay the electric grid to take their electricity and still make money. Any subsidy is too large when people can give away their product, but then make money from the U.S. Treasury. This massive subsidy gives PTC-subsidized wind power an unfair advantage and has led to the closure of reliable, but non-taxpayer subsidized power plants.

Extending the wind PTC would raise energy costs on American families at a time when many can least afford it. When all costs are taken into account, wind energy costs $109 per megawatt hour, which is twice as much as last year’s average wholesale electricity price of $54.

A vote for the PTC would also force Americans to use less reliable energy. Wind typically produces the most power when it is needed least. One study finds that more than 84 percent of installed wind facilities fail to produce electricity when demand is highest. This was particularly troublesome during last year’s polar vortex, when record-low temperatures threatened widespread blackouts, forcing reliable nuclear and coal generators to step up as wind power faltered.

For a comprehensive look at the issues with the Wind PTC please see the Institute for Energy Research report, “The Case Against the Wind Production Tax Credit.”

The American Energy Alliance opposes this amendment and will include it in our American Energy Scorecard. NO IS THE PRO-ENERGY, PRO-TAXPAYER, ANTI-CRONYISM VOTE.

AEA Position: No

Vote result on 2015-01-28

Amendment Rejected

(47 to 51)

  • Voted Yes
  • Voted No
  • Did Not Vote