Congress will renew US wind energy subsidies, says Senate Majority Leader

By John Parnell

The subsidy for the US wind energy sector will not be allowed to expire, Senate Majority leader Senator Harry Reid has said.

Speaking at a clean energy summit in Las Vegas, Democrat Sen. Reid said work to renew the Production Tax Credit (PTC) before it runs out at the end of the year is under way.

“We will get it done before the end of the year, I’m very confident,” said Reid. “We may even get this done before the election.”

Video: Senator Reid’s speech at the National Clean Energy Summit

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said that he would not renew the PTC.

It is estimated that the loss of the PTC could cost 30,000-37,000 of the 100,000 jobs in the US wind sector.

A bi-partisan Senate finance committee voted 19-5 in favour of the scheme in early August.

With wind energy jobs prominent in key Republican heartlands, there is support on both sides of the political divide.

Sen. Reid, who is frequently outspoken, also commented on continued debate amongst US media and the public about the existence of climate change. Recent extreme weather has increased awareness and “belief” in climate change.

“…Despite having overwhelming evidence and public opinion on our side, deniers still exist, fuelled and funded by dirty energy profits,” said Reid.

“These people aren’t just on the other side of this debate. They’re on the other side of reality. It’s time for us all – whether we’re leaders in Washington, members of the media, scientists, academics, environmentalists or utility industry executives – to stop acting like those who ignore the crisis or deny it exists entirely have a valid point of view. They don’t.”

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