Probably no other topic has stirred the renewable energy blogosphere more than the topic of production tax credits (PTC) for wind. Wind energy has benefitted from PTC of some form or another since 1992. The present PTC legislation, which credits 2.2â‚¡ per kWh for electricity produced by wind power, will expire at the end of 2012.
Hereâ€™s is a brief summary of the debate:
Pro: Advocates of extending the credits claim that wind energy will wither and die without them. The Obama administration estimates that as many as 37,000 jobs are at stake. Several companies are already forming lay off plans contingent on the PTCs ending. Advocates also often point out that we subsidize big oil, why not wind?
Con: Opponents are concerned that wind PTCs will cost tax payers $1.6 billion in 2012 even though the technology is mature and needs to stand on its own economics. We shouldn't be buying jobs. Wind electric generation has been around for over 100 years and, after 20 years of subsidy, the industry needs to go through a withdrawal detox.
Hereâ€™s how our readers are responding:
Over 50 percent believe that the tax credits should not be extended and that it's better for the wind industry to face economic reality now rather than get even more dependent on handouts.
About 20 percent believe the credits should be extended at the current rate, and about 20 percent want them extended but reduced.
But, like most controversial energy and finance issues, the future of the tax credits most likely depend on the results of the national election.
The poll remains open for another week or so. Click here to enter your vote, if you havenâ€™t already, and see the ongoing tally.