AWEA optimistic in pushing PTC extension

UNITED STATES: Lobbyists for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) are increasingly optimistic that the production tax credit (PTC) is likely to be extended.

AWEA CEO Denise Bode... "won't need [PTC] forever"

Following Mitt Romney’s defeat, Republicans in Congress will now be "freed up" to support the tax credit, said AWEA vice president of public affairs Peter Kelley.

On Tuesday, American voters re-elected President Barack Obama, who supports extending the PTC, instead of his Republican opponent Romney, who opposes it. It is generally hard for lawmakers to defy their party leaders in an election year.

During the same press conference, AWEA CEO Denise Bode noted that voters elected 75-plus new Congressional members. She said: "It’s a great opportunity to shore up additional support."

Of the 12 new senators elected, seven got financial support from AWEA’s political action committee, WindPAC. PACs, by definition, use political donations to try and influence elections.

Additionally, 88% of WindPAC-supported candidates for the House of Representatives, the lower house of the US Congress, won their seats.

In response to a question about job losses, Bode said that the US wind industry has shed at least 4,000 jobs so far because of the PTC’s possible lapse on 31 December. The figure could be higher because many redundancies are not announced, she said.

Asked about the possibility of a PTC phase-out, Bode responded, "We have always said that wind won’t need it forever."