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US House of Representatives passesTax Increase Prevention Act of 2014

Move bodes well for wind energy sector in the short term, but falls short of desired goal of a two-year extension.

The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, by a vote of 378 to 46. The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771) 1 would extend, for one year (generally through the end of 2014), a number of tax relief provisions that expired either at the end of calendar year 2013 or during 2014.

The development represents both good news and bad news for the US wind energy sector, according to Aaron Severn, senior director, Federal Legislative Affairs for the Power of Wind. On the plus side, the Power of Wind’s well-coordinated outreach campaign helped preserve what he called “common-sense wind policies” through this year: the production tax credit and investment tax credit.

This despite aggressive opposition by heavily financed lobbyists who had urged Congress to omit wind energy policy from the bill. “At a time when our opponents were fighting to eliminate wind policy, we powered through and gained an extension of the wind policies vital for clean energy growth,” Severn explained.

On the downside, the extension falls short of what wind energy advocates were pushing for. “We wanted to see a two-year extension, which would make a huge difference in providing more clean and affordable energy to Americans than ever before,” Severn noted.

But the fight is not yet done, Severn warns. As the bill is expected to move on to the Senate for consideration this week, he said the Power of Wind’s campaign will carry on.

The timing is critical, Severn notes, given the positive trends seen in wind energy development. According to the Power of Wind, energy prices generated by wind are rapidly declining; over the past five years, the cost of wind power has dropped by more than 50 per cent. At the same time, wind power has delivered a third of all new generating capacity over the past five years, with a record amount of new projects under construction.

More importantly, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), more than 500 factories across 43 states manufacture for the wind energy industry. “These factories provide well-paying jobs for American workers,” said Tom Kiernan, AWEA CEO. “Any disruption of the PTC now would increase the cost of future wind projects and erase much of the progress in creating this new US manufacturing sector.”

Kiernan is not exaggerating. When the PTC expired in 2013, new wind installations came to a screeching halt, resulting in a 92 per cent drop in new wind projects compared to 2012. Economically, that translated into a $23 billion falloff in private investment in the US, with nearly 30,000 American jobs lost as a result.


  1. By enacting H.R. 5771, Congress can continue to pursue its efforts to make certain expiring tax provisions permanent to provide certainty and stability to families and businesses.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power