Clean energy still needs support


Wind Turbine


National Science Foundation


On Sunday, December 16, the Washington Post ran an editorial picking on the popular and effective wind production tax credit (PTC) that has been incredibly beneficial in increasing wind energy in America.  The PTC is set to expire at the end of the year, and like many things in Washington, attempts to save it are stalled.

The Post argues that pushing for an overall price on carbon pollution – not letting polluters dump into our air for free – is a better way to increase carbon-free energy sources like wind and solar. While a price on carbon is a good idea, the Post is making the perfect the enemy of the good.

As the current gridlock in Congress proves (in the Post’s own daily headlines no less) new ideas are not moving forward right now – and a real price on carbon hasn’t been attempted since the 2009 climate change bill that stalled in the face of climate change denialism. 

In any event, there is a difference between subsidies that encourage clean energy and subsidies that encourage more carbon pollution.  Instead of targeting the wind PTC – which moves us in the right direction – the Post would do better to target the source of the problem – the perverse incentives that siphon $4 billon every year from taxpayers to the oil and gas industry.