By Ben Geman - 07/31/12 09:59 AM EDT
President Obama’s campaign is bashing Mitt Romney for the presumptive GOP nominee’s view that tax incentives for wind power projects should lapse at the end of the year.
Romney’s position, announced Monday, sets up a sharp contrast with Obama, who is pressing Congress to approve a multiyear extension of incentives that the wind industry calls vital to financing new power projects.
“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. Meanwhile, he supports $4 billion in oil and gas subsidies for companies that have rarely been more profitable,” said Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher in an email late Monday.
Romney’s campaign has broadly stated his opposition to “steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches” when it comes to green energy. The former Massachusetts governor says federal green energy efforts should be focused on research and development.
On Monday, campaign aides brought new specificity to the policy by stating that Romney believes the credit should expire this year, rather than phase out over a longer period.
“He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus
boondoggles and create a level playing field on which all sources of
energy can compete on their merits,” Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for
Romney’s Iowa campaign, said in a statement to The Des Moines Register.
“Wind energy will thrive wherever it is economically competitive, and wherever private-sector competitors with far more experience than the president believe the investment will produce results,” McCoy said. A Romney campaign aide confirmed to E2-Wire that Romney believes the credit should die at year's end.
New wind-power installations have fallen off when the credit has lapsed in the past, which last occurred in 2004.
The tax financing market took a huge hit during the financial crisis, and the 2009 stimulus law created a now-expired program that allowed developers to receive grants in lieu of tax credits for renewable power projects.
Fetcher, the Obama aide, said Obama’s position backs American jobs.
“The hardworking men and women working in the wind industry know their jobs are not 'boondoggles' but instead part of the national push for more clean energy production here at home. President Obama believes Congress should extend production tax credits for wind energy companies right now to create American jobs and support American businesses and manufacturers,” he said.