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New Poll Finds 73 Percent of Voters Support Crucial Tax Policy for Wind Energy

Shauna Theel's picture
American Wind Energy Association
  • Member since 2018
  • 4 items added with 3,235 views
  • Nov 28, 2014

A new poll found that wide majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents support keeping the renewable energy Production Tax Credit, the key federal policy support mechanism for wind energy.

The Gotham Research Group poll found 73 percent of registered voters support continuing the Production Tax Credit (PTC), including 63 percent of registered Republicans, 74 percent of Independents, and over 71 percent overall in all regions of the country.

This poll is consistent with previous surveys. A USA TODAY poll in December 2013 similarly found that 73 percent of Americans support continuing tax incentives for renewable energy.

So here’s who you have on the side of the PTC:

  • Hundreds of U.S. businesses who know that wind energy is a smart economic choice
  • Farmers who know that wind energy can help landowners get by
  • Steelworkers and other manufacturing workers who know that wind energy provides high-paying jobs for Americans
  • Major conservation and environmental groups who know that clean wind energy avoids pollution that harms humans and wildlife
  • And 73 percent of American voters with widespread support across party lines and across the country
Shauna Theel's picture
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Leo Klisch's picture
Leo Klisch on Nov 29, 2014

Not to surprised. Xcel energy has 73,000 residences and 1,200 businesses enrolled in it’s Wind Source program. In 2013 the average premium for wind power was $.53/100kwh block. One of the cheapest and easiest ways to reduce a “carbon foot print”.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Nov 29, 2014

Shauna, in typical fashion, the renewables industry must rely on the most misleading of sources – and information – to make its case.

First, “tax reductions” aren’t currently being offered for any energy sources. Depending on your point of view, income taxes are being raised to pay for tax credits bestowed on energy entrepreneurs, or worse – lost revenues from tax credits are being kicked down the road as part of the national deficit, being multiplied by interest along the way. If we rephrased the question:  “Should tax breaks to the following industries be eliminated if it helped to lower your income tax?”, what do you think the outcome of the poll would be?

Second, the poll conspicuously avoids including the source which provides most of the country’s carbon-free energy – nuclear – and the one recommended by the world’s top climate scientists, including James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, and others, as providing the best chance at limiting carbon emissions. What do you think the outcome of that poll would be?

At best, this poll reveals that 73% of Americans have no idea what the paltry contribution of wind & solar is to their electricity, and how much of their taxes go to keeping these industries afloat.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Nov 30, 2014

So here’s who you have on the side of the PTC:

Hundreds of U.S. businesses who know that wind energy is a smart economic choice

But what makes it smart?  Is it still smart without any PTC/ITC?  Is it still smart if wind is put behind nuclear in the dispatch order instead of ahead?  Such artificial advantages are the creation of policy, and policy can change very quickly.

Farmers who know that wind energy can help landowners get by

Tax expenditures are great for those who get a piece of them.  But see above.

Major conservation and environmental groups who know that clean wind energy avoids pollution that harms humans and wildlife

Not particularly.  The simple-cycle gas turbines which do the bulk of the compensation for erratic RE output (where hydro is not available) burn more fuel for the same output than combined-cycle gas turbines.  Some analysts have found that the result is roughly a wash.  Then there are the impacts from bird and bat kills, the habitat fragmentation that inevitably comes with wind farm placements in forests, and more.

The sad truth is that Denmark, with a stellar 46.2% overall wind capacity factor, is still burning coal for close to 50% of its electric generation.  If the goal is to avoid CO2 emissions, it’s a stunning failure in every sense except greenwashing.

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