WASHINGTON, D.C.: Historic subsidies propping up US wind energy ended on January 1 and Congress refused to renew them, despite supporters arguing that the aid has made renewable power cheaper than coal.
The United States has subsidized wind-sourced electricity since 1992 to promotes the use of green energy and crack America’s dependence on the fossil fuels blamed for climate change.
Last year, billions of dollars in wind production tax credits, or PTCs, amounted to some 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for an industry that has struggled to compete against oil and gas.
But winds of change are blowing. The repeatedly renewed credits expired at the end of 2013, along with many other renewable energy benefits.
Wind energy is now an industry that can “stand on its own,” argued Sen. Lamar Alexander and other anti-tax-credit lawmakers last month.
“Our nation’s energy policy must make economic sense for taxpayers and not manipulate markets,” he and Sen. Joe Manchin of coal-producing West Virginia, wrote in a position letter.
“After more than 20 years and tens of billions of tax-payer dollars, it’s time to let the wind PTC expire and continue to invest in new technologies,” he added.