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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201
PUC Commissioner Hanson presents renewable energy resolution
to national utility professionals' organization
PIERRE, S.D. – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners passed a resolution presented by South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Gary Hanson urging Congress to approve a long-term production tax credit to boost renewable energy production.
Hanson, Vice Chairman of the PUC, presented the comprehensive resolution to the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment of NARUC at the group's summer meeting in New York. The resolution acknowledges the value of a production tax credit to the development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies. It urges Congress to approve a 10-year renewal and extension of the 1.5 cent per kilowatt-hour (adjusted for inflation) production tax credit for electricity generated from new facilities brought online after Dec. 31, 2008, using wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy resources.
"The PTC has been a hit and miss situation. It is available some years and other years it is not," Hanson explained, "The PTC is essential. Six times as much wind energy development takes place in the years when it is available as compared to when it is not."
Part of the discussion among NARUC members focused on how the renewable energy landscape would be affected if Congress fails to act, Hanson said. "The facts are compelling that the nation's wind capacity has lagged in the years following the lapse of the production tax credit," he said. "Policymakers in Washington need to step up and support the long-term availability of the production tax credit in order for our state, our region and our nation to fully realize the benefits of wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass energy."
South Dakotans may indicate their support of the production tax credit by signing a petition accessible from the PUC's Web site, www.puc.sd.gov. Click on the "Production Tax Credit Petition" near the top of the homepage.
South Dakota currently has installed wind projects with a combined capacity of 44 megawatts. Wind projects are under construction in Brookings and McPherson counties and others are in various stages of research and development.
The resolution was first debated among the Energy Resources and the Environment Committee, of which Hanson is a member. The NARUC Board of Directors then approved the measure.
TEXT OF RESOLUTION
Resolution Supporting a Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit
WHEREAS, The demand for the services that electricity provides to consumers is expected to steadily increase in the coming years and the development and availability of a diverse portfolio of energy technologies is necessary to fulfill that demand; and
WHEREAS, Encouraging the cost-effective use of renewable energy resources has been an important national goal since the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, and the generation of electricity from renewable energy has steadily increased its cost-effectiveness and performance since that time; and
WHEREAS, Renewable energy contributes to fuel diversity benefits, mitigates fuel price volatility by reducing dependence on natural gas, enhances national security by reducing dependence on imported fuels and decreases environmental impacts; and
WHEREAS, The Energy Policy Act of 1992 established a 1.5 cent per kilowatt-hour wind and closed-loop biomass production tax credit for energy produced from a new facility brought online after December 31, 1993, and before July 1, 1999, that is equal to 1.9 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2006 when adjusted for inflation; and
WHEREAS, The production tax credit has been extended five times over the past seven years, with a proactive effort being put forth in 2005 and 2006 to grant the extension prior to the expiration of the credit; and
WHEREAS, Additions to the nation's wind capacity have lagged in the years following the lapse of the production tax credit in 2000, 2002 and 2004; and
WHEREAS, The stability of public policy is critical to long-term investment in new renewable generating facilities and avoiding boom and bust cycles in the industry; and
WHEREAS, The development of renewable energy contributes to the growth of rural economies by stimulating capital investment; creating and sustaining jobs in the manufacturing, transportation and construction sectors; expanding the local tax base; and providing an alternative income area residents; and
WHEREAS, All renewable technologies could benefit from a production tax credit, just as wind has done; and
WHEREAS, Twenty five percent of the nation's electricity customers served by community-owned utilities should also have access to renewable generation made more affordable by production incentives; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), convened in its July 2007 Summer Meetings in New York, New York, hereby acknowledges the value of a production tax credit to the continued development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies; and be it further
RESOLVED, That NARUC urges Congress to approve a ten-year renewal and extension of the 1.5 cent per kilowatt-hour (adjusted for inflation) production tax credit for electricity generated from new facilities brought online after December 31, 2008, using wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy resources; and be it further
RESOLVED, That NARUC urges Congress to approve a similar investment tax credit linked to production or output for small renewable energy technologies installed by homeowners or small businesses that use wind systems to meet all or part of their electricity needs; and be it further
RESOLVED, That NARUC urges Congress to consider comparable financial incentives for those that are not able to take advantage of the production tax credit.
Sponsored by the Committees on Energy Resources and the Environment
Approved by the NARUC Board of Directors July 18, 2007