U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has taken a stance against renewing a tax credit that benefits wind turbine manufacturers. The Obama campaign hopes to make hay of Romney's decision, which would affected manufacturing jobs in at least one swing state.
The Production Tax Credit (PTC), which subsidizes the wind energy industry, is due to expire at the end of this year. Mr. Romney today indicated that he doesn't favor its renewal. Only Newt Gingrich made supportive statements during the Republican primaries.
A Romney campaign spokesperson said that Romney would "end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits," and added that wind power will stand on its own if it's viable.
(A note to Mr. Romney: The PTC was created under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and signed into law by Republican George H. Bush.)
President Obama's campaign sought to draw a sharp contrast with Romney and cried foul on the "level playing field" claim. "By opposing an extension to the wind production tax credit, Mitt Romney has come out against growth of the wind industry to support 100,000 jobs by 2016 and 500,000 jobs by 2030," it said a statement.
"Meanwhile, he supports $4 billion in oil and gas subsidies for companies that have rarely been more profitable," Obama's spokesperson added. Vice President Joe Biden also went on the attack.
There's also an upside for President Obama: Iowan voters. Iowa leads the nation in wind energy production, and projects such as Rolling Hills Wind Farm have generated over US$5 billion of private investment for the state with an estimated 4,000 jobs created.
Some of those replaced jobs lost in small town factories that were shuttered when the financial crisis hit. The wind power industry points to these jobs as a reason why the government should act to end its boom/bust cycle and says that past expirations have severely stymied business.
Both parties have favored ending subsidies - with Democrats seeking to end fossil fuel payouts and the Republican House caucus voting against renewables in lockstep. The GOP House recently began to investigate one wind energy project and stymied hearings on climate change.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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