Levi Strauss and Starbucks are among 19 major companies that signed a letter imploring Congress to renew the wind production tax credit that's set to expire at the end of the year. Obama has voiced support for the credit, Romney's against it, and Congress; well, Congress is doing that thing where it collapses in upon itself in a sputtering pile of stalemated dysfunction.
Phillip Bump points us to the meat of the well-intentioned letter that will almost certainly do next to nothing to change the fortunes of this all-important credit:
In the past decade American businesses have significantly ramped up their purchase of American wind energy. For consumers of wind electricity, the economic benefits of the PTC are tremendous. Electricity rates, which reflect marginal costs for power plant operations and fuel prices, consistently decrease when wind enters the market. Because wind prices can be locked in up front, businesses incorporating wind into their energy portfolios are better equipped to hedge market volatility in traditional fuels markets caused by supply shocks. We are concerned that allowing the PTC to expire will immediately raise prices for the renewable electricity we buy today.Doesn't matter; killing wind power is all dogma; an imagined reproach for the totally unrelated Solyndra debacle. A debacle, I might add, that the GOP is keeping alive with an iron lung. So, the letter; good for business, money-saving, smart policy–deaf ears. And since Senate Majority leader Harry Reid won't take up the cause, and since the House is chock full of free market ideologues who support tax breaks only when they're for fossil fuel companies, the PTC is pretty much sunk.
It's now all but determined that Congress is going to kill the most important remaining policy tool we've got for keeping the American wind industry competitive. It's going to lead to massive layoffs, and, clearly, it's going to mean a major drop in wind power development in the states.
Just a reminder: Earlier this year, Congress voted on whether or not to dismantle the comparatively gigantic federal handouts for oil companies. It voted, along party lines, to keep them.