Companies Make Last-Ditch Push for
by Matthew Wheeland
It's come down to the wire for Congress to approve an extension of a tax credit for wind power producers, and some of the country's biggest consumer brands are pulling out all the stops to get the extension approved.
Nike, Starbucks, Staples and Campbell Soup, among others, are urging representatives to continue to support the 2.2 percent production tax credit (PTC) for wind power production.
In a just-posted blog on Forbes.com, Ceres president Mindy Lubber, whose organization is leading the call to action, writes:
Made in America renewable energy such as wind is highly attractive to U.S. companies for whom managing energy costs is a high priority. Sources of foreign oil are unreliable, as is the price: with every international crisis, especially in the volatile Middle East, the cost of a barrel of oil soars. By making domestic renewables part of their energy portfolio, American companies help stabilize their marginal costs of energy which is good for their bottom line, for the economy, and for American jobs.The PTC provides a tax credit of 2.2 cents per megawatt hour of generated electricity for wind developers, which translates to lower delivered cost of the resource. Since the PTC was enacted seven years ago, wind power capacity has increased by 47,000 megawatts, a seven-fold increase.
Unless Congress acts the PTC will expire at the end of the year and many wind turbines will stop spinning and many more will never be built. Development of this clean, renewable, domestic energy source has accelerated since the PTC was last put in place in 2005, adding 47,000 megawatts of new capacity and accounting for $60 billion in private investment and 35 percent of the new electrical generation capacity developed in the U.S. over the past four years.
The companies behind today's call to action are all committed to using renewable energy to power their operations. Starbucks has committed to using 100 percent renewable power, and Staples has long been one of the leaders on the EPA's green power purchasers list. Nike, of course, been charting new territory for corporate sustainability for years, and we've profiled Campbell's sustainability efforts several times in the last year.
In addition to the green benefits of encouraging wind power production, Lubber cites in her blog post some of the economic impacts the wind industry offers the country:
The economic fallout from failure to extend the PTC would be substantial. The wind power industry would lose an estimated 40,000 jobs and be stopped in its tracks, signaling U.S. readiness to cede the $6 trillion clean energy business opportunity to China and Europe....To compete with the fossil fuel giants, wind producers need a more level playing field, and that's what the PTC does. It's time to keep the wind at our back by passing the extension of the PTC.
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