Looks like SD’s Congressional delegation knows which way the wind is blowing. From the Mitchell Republic:
Time is short for a tax credit seen as crucial to the wind energy industry.
The Production Tax Credit — which offers a 2.2-cent tax break for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced from utility-scale turbines — expires Dec. 31, and uncertainty about whether and how it will be extended has sent ripples through the industry…
South Dakota’s delegation supports an extension, but they — and lawmakers from other windy states — will have to persuade their colleagues to vote it through at a time when Congress is looking for expenditures to cut.
South Dakota is fifth in the nation for potential wind capacity, and a study released in September showed that every additional two megawatts of wind energy production resulted in the creation of $22,000 in personal income and one full-time job. (To put that in perspective, SD’s 482 large wind turbines have produced 784 megawatts of wind energy to date.) Of course, short-term budget worries might deter Congress from extending the $5 billion tax credit. But as Ron Rebenitsch, executive director of the SD Wind Energy Association, writes:
A number of studies have shown that the economic activity generated by wind energy actually results [in] a net benefit to government. Federal, state and local tax income from profits, wages, sales tax, property tax and landowner payments are larger than the cost of the incentives. Furthermore, an under-recognized benefit is the development of another energy source that won’t run dry. Wind energy is a resource that doesn’t depend on expensive military action to protect it from forces trying to harm the United States.
Even Kristi Noem – no friend to green energy or the environment – recognizes how much is at stake, co-sponsoring a four-year extension of the credit in the House. (Getting reelected appears to come before torpedoing SD’s economy to serve your own ideological interests, it seems. At least in this case.)
This tax credit is an important part of transitioning the U.S. to a renewable energy economy, and it’s one area where South Dakota has a huge edge. If you’re in SD, contact Rep. Kristi Noem, Sen. John Thune, and Sen. Tim Johnson, and tell them to protect this vital sector of our 21st-century economy. If you’re out-of-state, contact your own senators and representatives, and tell them to back SD’s delegation in extending this tax credit.