Kiernan said AWEA suggested ramping down the production tax credit over the course of six years as part of an analysis of what the industry needed to be “minimally viable.” He stressed the House Ways and Means Committee requested the exercise, and that it was performed in the context of broad tax code changes.
That AWEA is not primarily seeking a phase out will be news to some Republicans. Many interpreted the analysis as AWEA’s ask in the midst of a fight to extend the credit last year.
The production tax credit is the centerpiece of the analysis. It awards wind-power producers a 2.2-cent credit for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated, and it expires at the end of the year.
AWEA is trying to secure more stable policy to give stronger signals to investors. Those options include a phase out for the credit and making the incentive permanent, which President Obama has advocated.
But Republicans ranging from Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderLive coverage: Tom Price's confirmation hearing DeVos vows to be advocate for 'great' public schools Overnight Healthcare: CBO projects 18M could lose coverage after ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Tenn.), who opposes the credit, to Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who chairs the Republican Policy Committee, have told The Hill they believe a phase out is AWEA’s stance.
Other Republicans — such as Sen. John HoevenJohn HoevenFive regulations that could come in Obama's final days ND senator calls for remaining Dakota Access protesters to leave Senate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules MORE (R-N.D.), a wind supporter, and some GOP lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee — contend that AWEA has not yet offered a specific solution for the tax credit.
Of Republicans, Kiernan said that he’s “not sure what their interpretations are” of AWEA’s policy aims.
Kiernan said AWEA recently reissued its analysis to a House Way and Means Committee energy task force. Rob Gramlich, AWEA’s interim chief executive, said the letter “clarified” that it was not specifically pushing for a phase out.
Congress renewed the production tax credit in January — after allowing it to lapse one day — as part of sweeping legislation to avoid the "fiscal cliff," despite opposition from fiscal conservatives. But wind industry supporters say that uncertainty scared off investment for this year.
— CORRECTION: This story was last updated at 2:15 p.m. An earlier version misstated the timeline for AWEA presenting its plan to tax-writing committees.