Kansas wind industry fights against tax-credit reversal
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Wind industry executives are pressing Gov. Sam Brownback to lobby Kansas’ congressional delegation in opposition to a cut to a federal tax credit that could threaten $1.5 billion in planned projects across the state.
A provision weakening the production tax credit was incorporated into the U.S. House bill endorsed by all four Kansas representatives. But executives of seven wind energy companies asked Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer to encourage Republican U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran to keep changes to the tax credit out of the Senate’s bill and the final legislation, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
“We’re appreciative of the governor reaching out to senators,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “The House bill threatens nationally about $50 billion to $60 billion worth of investment. In Kansas, it’s about $1.5 billion worth of investment that’s in the pipeline.”
Kiernan said the tax credit is originally scheduled to be phased out in 2020 based on a 2015 agreement approved by Congress. The House voted to get rid of that agreement by retroactively reducing the credit by about a third.
APEX Clean Energy CEO Mark Goodwin said the House bill would abandon a pro-business, orderly reduction in the tax credit that was factored into financial assessments by Kansas wind farm developers.
“Kansas is, in the current environment, one of the most desirable places to invest in new development-stage projects,” Goodwin said. “The House bill makes cuts off the wind industry at the heels.”
Brownback has previously supported the federal production tax credit for wind farms and endorsed the five-year phasing out of the tax break. He proposed last year that half of Kansas’ electricity be derived from wind by 2019.
Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com