U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, wants to end a federal tax subsidy for the production of electricity through wind power. The freshman Republican introduced legislation that would not allow any more companies to qualify for the tax credit after 2019.
During Wednesday morning’s debate on the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, Lankford said the production tax credit was put in place in 1992 as a short-term incentive for a brand new industry. Lankford argued it made sense to help a fledgling industry when the wind energy tax credit was put in place, but he said over the last 24 years wind generation has increased by 3,000 percent.
“It’s well-developed. It’s economically stable. It’s pulling its own weight in the system,” Lankford said. “We should allow it to continue to fly on its own. It’s not as if wind goes away if we don’t provide a tax credit.”
In December, the Senate renewed the Production Tax Credit for wind energy so that it would drop by 20 percent each year between now and 2019. Lankford says it will cost $17 billion over the next three years.
“We just had an extended argument over how we were going to fund the transportation bill last year when we needed to find $13 billion a year to fund transportation, and we just did a production tax credit for wind that is $17 billion.”
Lankford says the PTC is left undefined in 2020 with the assumption that it will be phased out, and Lankford wants to make sure it is.