Wind Energy Tax Credit Extension is Good for South Dakota
South Dakota’s wind energy resource is ranked number five in the United States, and with just over 22% of its power being provided by wind, our state has made tremendous strides in installing wind capacity in recent years. Yet we are still only using a small fraction of our resources. South Dakota’s wind resources could provide 310 times our state’s current electrical needs. I am committed to making sure we have the tax policy and long-term certainty in place to continue and increase production of wind power. Wind power plays an increasing role in meeting our nation’s energy needs. It not only reduces the need for fossil fuels, but also creates tremendous opportunities for South Dakota’s economy.
The fiscal cliff compromise that passed Congress early this year included a provision to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy projects that begin construction before the end of 2013. The fiscal cliff deal also extended the ability for wind and certain other renewable energy developers to choose a 30% investment tax credit in place of the PTC. This short-term extension is a step in the right direction, but I will continue to push for longer term policies for wind and other clean energy technologies, so more certainty is created for clean energy industries in South Dakota.
Not only would a longer term policy create more certainty, it would also help grow South Dakota’s economy and communities. According to the American Wind Energy Association, federal incentives helped spur $25 billion in private investment in 2012. With stable policy, this type of investment will help keep orders coming in to turbine manufacturers like Molded Fiber Glass in Aberdeen and continue to boost opportunities for graduates of South Dakota’s technical schools and universities. As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I am committed to elevating the role that alternative and renewable energy sources play in South Dakota’s and our nation’s energy strategy. Our energy policy should focus on increasing the amount of renewable energy used to power our homes, fuel our cars, and encourage economic growth. I will continue working with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to advance policies that support renewable energy sources that are important to our state and nation.