Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, Sprint and 16 other companies have sent a letter to Congress, urging elected officials to extend the wind production tax credit (PTC) before it expires at the end of 2012.
The PTC, originally signed into law by President George H.W. Bush seven years ago, provides a tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of renewable power generated.
The letter says the PTC has cut wind energy costs 90 percent since 1980. Wind supplies more than three percent of US demand and accounts for 35 percent of new power capacity installed in the last four years, it says.
Installed wind capacity represents more than $79 billion in private investment, according to the letter.
Signatories to the letter also included Akamai Technologies, Annie’s, Aspen Skiing Company, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, Jones Lang LaSalle, Levi Strauss & Co, New Belgium Brewing, The North Face, Pitney Bowes, the Portland Trail Blazers, Seventh Generation, Stonyfield Farm, Symantec, Timberland and Yahoo. Many of these firms are members of Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), a project of Ceres.
Many of the firms are repeat signatories. In June, Microsoft and Sprint petitioned congressional leaders for an extension of the PTC. And a group of 15 companies including Starbucks, Nike, Campbell’s Soup, Staples, and Yahoo signed a similar letter in February.
But Johnson & Johnson is a new addition, and is the second-largest company to call on Congress to extend the credit, ranking 42nd in the Fortune 500. Microsoft is the largest, at 37th.
The CEOs and envoys of 240 local chambers of commerce from 47 states, representing more than 220,000 businesses, have also sent a letter to Congress asking it to extend the PTC. It says wind energy has allowed many cities and regions to diversify their local economies and create new business opportunities, and “thousands of jobs and billions of dollars” are at risk.
The US has installed a total of 50 GW of wind energy capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association. But the PTC’s scheduled expiration date has caused the industry’s manufacturing supply chain to start slowing down, given the 18-month project development cycle under which the industry operates.
AWEA says industry layoffs have already begun, and extending the PTC could save 37,000 jobs by the first quarter of 2013.