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Wind Energy Tax Credit Expires

OPB | Jan. 3, 2014 12:40 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 3, 2014 2:24 p.m.

The end of 2013 also brought the end of the federal wind energy tax credit. Rachel Shimshack with Renewable Northwest Project says that, geographically, Oregon isn’t the most ideally suited for wind generation. But she says it’s one of the industry leaders nationally, in part because of the policies citizens have put in place to support alternative energy. Although she believes the wind energy tax credit should be extended, she’s excited by a proposal in the U.S. Senate that would restructure all energy tax credits based on how much pollution they generate — with the least-polluting power receiving the biggest incentives.

Subsidizing wind — or other alternative energy sources — is not without detractors. Travis Fisher with the Washington DC-based Institute for Energy Research is one of them. He says wind energy doesn’t need a special subsidy. Fisher says wind is by no means an infant industry in need of support to get off the ground — Congress first enacted in 1992. He says the idea that government should be supporting one industry over another is wrong-headed. He also points out that the financial subsidies that alternative energy receives, relative to the amount of power generated, is much higher than for fossil fuels.

Do you use pay extra to get energy from renewable sources? Do you think subsidies are an appropriate way to direct energy policy?

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