September 26, 2012
Dear Senators Warner and Webb and Representatives Cantor, Connolly, Forbes, Goodlatte, Griffith, Hurt, Moran, Rigell, Scott, Wittman, and Wolf:
On behalf of more than 72,000 Americans for Prosperity (AFP) activists in Virginia, I am writing in strong opposition to extending tax breaks for wind energy. In early August, the Senate Finance Committee passed a measure (S.3521) that would renew and expand the primary federal support for wind energy, the wind production tax credit (PTC), which is scheduled to expire at the end of this year.
Hardworking Virginians deserve an energy policy that is based on market principles, not one that is based on extending handouts to politically connected industries, such as the wind PTC. Enacting policies that threaten electrical grid reliability and drive up energy prices is not why they sent you to Washington.
Targeted energy subsidies have had a disastrous track record in the United States. The first big flop was ethanol; despite 40 years of government support, it still relies on blending mandates, leads to higher food prices, and doesn’t deliver its supposed environmental benefits. A more recent boondoggle is U.S. Department of Energy grants and loan guarantees. Too many of these companies—Solyndra, Beacon Power, and Ener1—have gone bankrupt and squandered hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. The wind PTC is of this ilk; it props up an industry that is economically unviable. A recent study shows that the subsidy for wind is so large that some areas are running negative electricity rates, meaning the wind industry is actually paying people to take their product.
It’s time for government to stop meddling in America’s energy markets. New energy technologies should show their value in the marketplace by competing for consumers’ dollars on a level playing field—not by petitioning Washington for favors. Over 72,000 Americans for Prosperity activists call the Virginia home, and they will be watching to see how you vote on this issue. I urge you and your colleagues to oppose extending the wind production tax credit.
Virginia State Director
Americans for Prosperity