Last night news broke that Siemens’ wind energy will be restaffing their American manufacturing sites. This is great news for the wind industry and for local economies  impacted by Siemens’ hiring (such as our local economy in Hutchinson, KS.)

Of particular interest in comments from the Siemens’ executives is that the renewed PTC legislation is not key to this restaffing -but that increased orders for export of wind turbines is driving the need to restaff facilities.

Here is an excerpt from the press release:

After the uncertain fate of the production tax credit (PTC) led Siemens to lay off approximately 37% of its U.S. wind energy workforce last year, the company is now in the process of restaffing its operations in Fort Madison, Iowa, and Hutchinson, Kan., company spokesperson Monika Wood confirmed to NAW.

Although the tax credit has been renewed, Siemens’ decision to hire more workers is not a direct result of the PTC extension, Wood says. In fact, the company is restaffing in order to produce wind turbine components for projects located outside the U.S.

“While the recently passed one-year PTC extension is not directly related to our need to ramp up production at this time, the PTC extension gives us confidence in the American market,” Wood tells NAW. “As projects move forward and we receive new wind turbine orders sparked by the PTC extension, we will continue to adjust our operations accordingly.”

Read the entire release here.

We are glad to see the wind industry getting back to work!

Kate Van Cantfort, Communications Director for  CEP

Advertisements

News of the fiscal cliff has been everywhere – very early this morning (New Year’s day) the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” –  better known as the Fiscal Cliff Package, passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 89 for to 8 against. Thank you to Senators Moran and Roberts for reaching across the isle on this important issue.

The package includes an extension of the Production Tax Credit through January 2014. While it is not the permanent fix needed for the wind industry to have parity with other energy sources, it will give one more year to come up with a long-term solution for clean energy.

The bill is now waiting on the House to take up the vote. Let’s hope our Kansas delegation considers how important this issue is,  remembering the 1400 Kansans who signed petitions for extending the production tax credit.

Stay tuned and Happy New Year!

Dorothy Barnett, Executive Director, CEP

Holiday News Round-up

December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays to everyone!

We just want to keep everyone in the loop even with the busy holiday schedules. We hope those of you who got some of the much-needed snow are being safe and enjoying the moisture.

Just before the holiday break, AWEA announced support for a 6 year stepped phase out of the Production Tax Credit. Read more about AWEA’s support here. This announcement came just in time for the last of CEP’s deliveries of the petition signatures and opened the door to a better conversation with some of our Congressmen. There is more interest from our Senator Moran in addressing some if the tax codes issues that effect interested wind investors. He is co-sponsoring a bill with Senator Coons from Delaware to address parity for renewable energy investors. Read more about Senator Moran asking for support tax code changes.

In the news this week is the announcement of Kansas’ largest wind farm to be on-line by the end of the year. The project owned by BP Wind and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power – Flat Ridge 2 – is on a 66,000-acre site covering parts of Harper, Barber, Kingman and Sumner counties in southern Kansas. Read more about this important project and BP Wind’s support of the newly proposed 6 year phase out of the Production Tax Credit.

CEP and our petition supporters have also received news coverage as we delivered your signatures to our Congressional representatives.  Read some of the coverage in the Hays Daily.
And for a story of completely different tone, Eileen Horn, a former CEP staffer and current sustainability director for Douglas County, was recently interviewed by Grist for a series on women in green careers. Eileen has some great thoughts on climate change in the Heartland and gives CEP and the Take Charge Challenge a great shout out! Thank you Eileen!
Keep warm out there and we will keep you posted on any more  breaking news.
posted by Kate Van Cantfort,  Director of Communications

Pushing Forward with the PTC

November 15, 2012

The elections are over and Congress is getting back to work.

When Congress went into the election recess the PTC was left in a Senate committee as part of a tax extenders package. We’ll give the Senate a few days to get their ducks (lame or other wise) in order and we’ll see where the PTC stands and what lies in its future between now and December 31st.

To remind our national leaders about the urgency and importance of the PTC, Governor Brownback along with three other bi-partisan governors sent another letter to Congress followed up with a conference call. On the call Tuesday, Governor Brownback stated that Kansas had about $3 billion in wind farm investments in 2012, but there are no new investments set for 2013. “It is critical. It is happening and it needs to be extended,” he said.

Kansas Senators Moran and Roberts have also continued to be supportive of the PTC. In particular Senator Moran has co-sponsored bills with Colorado Senator Mark Udall. Senator Udall has committed to speaking everyday from the Senate floor until the PTC is passed. So far the Senator has made 20 speeches on the PTC. Speech #8 was on Kansas wind industry.

CEP and partner organizations have had a petition circulating to urge our House representatives to support Kansas jobs by extending the PTC. We are in our final push to get 2,000 Kansas to sign. If you have not, please sign and share with your friends and family.

Thank you!

posted by Kate Van Cantfort, CEP Program Director

This has been a busy week for CEP and for PTC supporters.

Thank you to the over 600 people who have signed the letter in support of the PTC. We are still reaching for our goal of 5,000 Kansans to have signed. Please do what you can to spread the word!

This week Governor Brownback’s office released a declaration that October is Energy Awareness Month. His office encourages citizens to be aware of energy consumption nd weatherization. CEP appreciates the support Governor Brownback has shown for Kansas as the renewable energy state, the PTC and energy efficiency.

The Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce, where CEP is headquartered and home to the recent Siemen;s layoffs, announced support for a 5 year extension of the PTC. We thank the Chamber for that support of the PTC extension!

This morning the Hutchinson News printed a strong editorial from Dave Kerr. We have included the entier text below.

Pompeo’s Wind Credit Obsession is Embarrassing

Guest column

By Dave Kerr 
U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo’s protestations in defense of his anti-wind-energy efforts might possibly make some theoretical sense, if they were not so riddled with political and practical inconsistencies that it is surprising he’s willing to hang them out for public view – and ridicule.
The first sleight of hand the congressman tries to slip by us is that the wind Production Tax Credit is the same kind of government giveaway as the completely indefensible program that wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on the Solyndra company. The PTC is actually an income tax credit available to utilities and others based on the kilowatt hours of electricity generated using the wind as the “fuel” to produce it. Wind equipment manufacturing companies like Siemens receive no subsidies or loan guarantees or any direct incentives from the federal government. They do benefit when utilities decide to buy and install wind generation equipment, which is clearly influenced to some extent by the PTC.

So, Congressman, please stop throwing Solyndra at us as justification for your position. There is better justification for your saying you are advocating for a tax increase on utilities, which, because they are regulated, will pass on to consumers. While that may be a tortured argument, it’s better than your phony Solyndra argument, which you’ve used in everything you’ve written from the Wall Street Journal to The Hutchinson News.

 

The PTC has actually helped the development of emissions-free electrical power for millions of homes, and the cost of that electricity is guaranteed fixed for 20 years. That’s a guarantee the producers of other fuels for electrical generation would be reluctant to make.

As the multibillion-dollar, 75,000-job wind industry has grown, manufacturers have invested heavily in innovation and technology. Even without the PTC, wind-generated electricity is now cost-competitive with $4-$5 (per mcf) natural gas. While natural gas has been as high as $12 within the last decade, new technology and aggressive drilling currently have it down around $3, and last summer industrial customers were buying it for less than $2. So, at the moment, wind is more expensive.

Congressman Pompeo sat a couple of tables away from me at the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association (KIOGA) annual meeting luncheon a month ago and heard Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Oil and an adviser to Gov. Mitt Romney, say we would lose 30 to 35 percent of our domestic drilling program if their two big tax breaks, the Intangible Drilling Cost and the Percentage Depletion Allowance, were to be taken away. The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation lists these deductions on the same table of energy incentives as the wind Production Tax Credit. Combined, they are worth nearly $2 billion per year versus the $1 billion or so for the PTC. The conservative CATO Institute appears to agree with the congressional analysis.

So, when the congressman piously says he doesn’t want the government to “pick energy winners and losers,” he points to a couple of dinky tax credits for oil and gas that he wants to eliminate along with the wind PTC. He ignores the existence of the Intangible Drilling and Percentage Depletion Allowance. Either his aim is bad or he is playing Clintonesque games of semantics with us. Maybe his aim and his definitions would improve if he were not protecting his status as No. 2 in the entire 435-member U.S. Congress in oil and gas campaign contributions.

Let’s sum it up: Congressman Pompeo claims to want all energy sources to compete on their own with no tax incentives. But he ignores a couple of 90-year-old tax incentives for oil and gas that allow them to drill 35 percent more wells, which creates a glut in natural gas that drives down the price to the lowest levels in a decade. Then he goes on a crusade to do away with the tax incentive for wind generation that has to compete with these very low natural gas prices. The Joint House-Senate Tax Committee lists the oil and gas incentives as costing about $2 billion a year versus the wind incentive’s cost of $1 billion.

Perhaps surprisingly, I agree with the congressman that we should keep the Intangible Drilling Cost and Percentage Depletion Allowance tax incentives for the oil and gas industry. For national security and job creation, domestic sourcing of energy is far better than buying it from far-off lands. Spending vast amounts of our wealth to buy the product from countries that dislike us, to fight wars to maintain our access and for armadas to protect the shipping lanes to bring it to our shores, makes no sense for the future of our country.

Congressman Pompeo should support the wind Production Tax Credit for the same reasons and many more. In a nation running a $1.2 trillion annual deficit, there are endless more lucrative targets for the congressman’s budget efforts. His current obsession with the wind credit in a state that is second only to Texas in potential for harvesting wind energy is an embarrassment.

It’s also bad for the 250 families affected by the layoffs at Siemens, for the merchants of our city, and for the 750 people who would have filled the wind-related jobs that were announced or on the verge of being announced in Newton and Hutchinson.

Dave Kerr is a former president of the Hutchinson / Reno County Chamber of Commerce and a former state senator whose service included a term as Kansas Senate president.

Please remember to sign and share this letter to Representatives Pompeo, Huelskamp, Jenkins and Yoder.

posted by Kate Van Cantfort, CEP Director of Communications & Special Projects

Congressman Pompeo’s editorial in Sunday’s Eagle “Wind Tax Credit Harms Economy” was short on facts and long on rhetoric.

According to a 2012 report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) the levelized cost of wind energy in the U.S. is estimated to be at an all time low in 2012 and in 2013.

Late last year, Alabama Power, a Southern Company subsidiary, agreed to purchase 202 MW of wind energy from Trade Wind Energy (a Kansas company).  The 20 year power purchase agreement’s (PPA) term was not disclosed, however, spokesman Michael Sznajderman said “the wind power will cost less than our avoided costs and would not increase retail rates.”

We agree all stable energy policy makes sense. Key for a level playing field is parity. Congressman Pompeo should take note of this great response to his editorial from HART Stakeholder Mark Richardson below:

Congressman Pompeo may have a worthy goal of ending energy subsidies as he suggests, however his plan to only targets TAX CREDITS and leaves many other subsidies in the form of energy-specific TAX DEDUCTIONS in place.

As one having financial interests in the oil and gas industry, I see the benefit to oil and gas production of the Intangible Drilling Cost (IDC) and Percentage Depletion (PD) tax deductions that are specific to the industry and important to Kansas. They of course cost money and are listed by all the Congressional economic research entities as costing the tax payer billions, as Mr. Pompeo states the wind PTC does.

On Sept. 18, Rep. Pompeo teamed up with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) to write a piece in the Wall Street Journal attacking the wind industry in a similar manner. They cited a Joint Committee on Taxation document that listed the wind PTC as $6B over five years. Over the same five years, the O&G IDC and PD are listed as costing $9B and nuclear $4.7B in tax expenditures, a term used by such entities as they tally the cost of such subsidies to the tax payer.

Spend some time with the data table of tax expenditures. The IDC is listed as “Expensing of exploration and development costs” and the PD as “Excess percentage over cost depletion” on page 31. Nuclear get $4.7B on page 32 for a special tax rate on their decommissioning fund. The wind PTC is on page 29 as $5.9B.

Then decide if the Congressman is “picking winners and losers” or not in energy.

If you want to let the Congressman know you support jobs for Kansans – take a minute and sign our petition to extend the Production Tax Credit here.

Dorothy Barnett, executive director Climate + Energy Project

In less than a week, we’ve collected over 500 signatures in support of the production tax credit for wind energy.

CEP, the Wind Coalition, Kansas Interfaith Power and Light and the Kansas Natural Resources Council are asking Kansans to sign a letter of support for the Production Tax Credit. Sign and share the letter on Facebook here.

You can read and sign the letter below:

We will only reach our goal of 5,000 signatures by October 7th with your help.

Dorothy Barnett, executive director, Climate + Energy Project