Wind power proponents ask for incentive renewals

December 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

GREENLAND — Touting wind energy’s environmental benefits, a statewide advocacy group on Tuesday called on members of Congress to renew federal incentives to support investment in wind energy production.

Environment New Hampshire released a report Tuesday highlighting reductions in water use, decreases in smog production, and other benefits offered by wind turbines.

Representatives from the group were joined by New Castle Rep. David Borden, a Democrat who has been active in environmental issues, at a news conference Tuesday to discuss wind power’s role in the country.

The event was held at Seacoast Volkswagen, a car dealership on Ocean Road in Greenland where owner Doug Miles has installed both a small wind turbine and an array of solar panels.

The report, “Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water,” indicates the state’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much pollution as taking 9,000 cars off the road per year, according to Environment New Hampshire spokeswoman Jessica O’Hare.

The speakers urged Congress to extend a pair of federal incentives for wind power — the renewable energy production tax credit and the offshore wind investment tax credit — before they expire at the end of the year.

“Wind power is already replacing the dirty and dangerous energy sources of the past and creating a cleaner, healthier future for Granite Staters…” O’Hare said in a prepared statement. “Our message to Congress is clear: Don’t throw wind power off the fiscal cliff. Our clean air, water, and children’s future are too important to blow it now.”

The development of wind energy in New Hampshire has come largely through the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard. It requires utilities to provide 24.8 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2025, according to information provided by Environment New Hampshire.

Without the production tax credit and the offshore wind investment tax credit, Environment New Hampshire argues, many planned wind farms will not be built.

“Time is running out,” O’Hare said. “We urge Sens. Shaheen and Ayotte to extend the renewable energy production tax credit and offshore wind investment tax credit before the end of the year. Our clean air, water, and children’s future depend on it.”

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Tuesday she supports extending renewable energy credits like the production tax credit for wind because clean energy technologies can have “enormous benefits” for New Hampshire’s economy.

However, the New Hampshire Democrat also offered a caution regarding new projects. Shaheen said she favors the expanded use of renewable energy, but remains “mindful of the impact these infrastructure projects can have on communities.”

“I believe we can modernize our energy infrastructure and protect our way of life,” she said in a written statement.

Liz Johnson, a staffer in Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s office, commented in an email response that Ayotte believes wind power subsidies should be discussed as part of a larger conversation on tax reform.

“Senator Ayotte believes these and other specific tax provisions should be considered as part of a broader effort to reform the nation’s unduly complex tax code,” she wrote.

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