WASHINGTON, November 30, 2017 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today introduced an amendment to the Senate tax reform bill that would end the wind production tax credit at the end of this year, instead of two years from now.
“You don’t need to be an accountant to know that our tax code is too complicated, takes too many dollars away from working Americans, and makes it harder to create good-paying jobs. Congress is focused on making our backward tax code into something that encourages our nation’s instinct for creativity and innovation,” Alexander said. “As we look at all the wasteful and unnecessary tax breaks that are holding us back, the wind production tax credit is a perfect example of the kind of provision Congress should kiss goodbye.”
Alexander continued, “The subsidy for Big Wind hasn’t come cheap: In just eight years — from 2008 to 2015 — the credit cost taxpayers $9.6 billion, more than a billion dollars a year. And it gets worse: The credit is expected to cost taxpayers more than $23 billion over just five years from 2016 to 2020, according to the Congressional Research Service – and the cost to taxpayers will continue until 2029 because when you extend the wind production tax credit for one year, it’s really for ten years.
“It hasn’t done much for most Americans. Despite the billions that Congress has provided in subsidies, wind energy still produces only 6 percent of our country’s electricity. Wind blows about 35 percent of the time — and its schedule is not exactly pegged to our demand — so until there’s some way to efficiently store large amounts of wind power, a utility still needs to operate nuclear, gas, or coal plants when the wind doesn’t blow.
“Wind turbines also destroy America’s natural beauty. On average, wind turbines are taller than the Statue of Liberty — they’re over twice as tall as the skyboxes at University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium. The blades on windmills can be as long as a football field, and their blinking lights can be seen for 20 miles.”
Alexander concluded, “For all these reasons, we should consider ending the wind production tax credit at the end of the year an easy decision.”
Earlier this month, Alexander spoke on the Senate floor about the wind production tax credit being a candidate for elimination in the tax reform bill, urging members of Congress to look at eliminating all tax subsidies for mature energy technologies.
Alexander also wrote in National Review that Congress should eliminate the wind production tax credit at the end of the year – and not two years from now – and use the $4 billion in savings to lower tax rates.