Bipartisan Senate duo urge end to wind tax credit

A bipartisan Senate duo is pushing for an end to federal support of the wind energy industry.

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On Tuesday, Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMurkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump China stalled reporting genetic information about COVID-19, angering WHO: report Senate GOP chairman criticizes Trump withdrawal from WHO MORE (R-Tenn.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December MORE (D-W.Va.) led a group of eight Republican senators in sending a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBottom line The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Bottom line MORE (D-Mont.), requesting that the committee desert attempts to renew the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC).

The tax credit, given to wind power owners per kilowatt-hour of electricity that they produce, is set to expire at the end of this year.

"The extension gave the wind industry the multi-year certainty that it had requested, so now it is time to let this technology stand on its own," the senators wrote in Tuesday's letter.

The task of extending clean energy tax credits has fallen on the Finance Committee, the letter notes, and the wind tax credit should be "excluded from any legislation the committee may consider."

Baucus's goal has always been to address the wind tax credit and other extenders in the context of tax reform, his office told The Hill on Tuesday. 

But hope for extending the tax credit wane; none of the provisions in the budget deal announced last week included it.

"Congress is struggling to find $63 billion to spend in the budget agreement, when all we have to do is get rid of the wasteful wind production tax credit," Alexander said in a statement.

"Using the wind production tax credit to pay for all or part of the budget agreement would do this country more good than extending this subsidy for expensive, low-quality wind electricity ever could."

The majority Republican letter is the latest in string sent to the Finance Committee.

On Monday, Democrats from both chambers called on the committee to renew clean-energy tax incentives, including the wind production credit.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said in the letter sent by Senate Democrats that the incentives will help consumers save on energy bills and reduce "harmful pollution."