Wind energy is a $14 billion industry made up of wind facilities, turbine manufacturers, and financiers. While the industry grew over the past few decades, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and its corporate members pushed for new and continued subsidies that would enable large energy corporations to profit at the expense of taxpayers.

This study investigates the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the corporate beneficiaries of billions of taxpayer dollars. The PTC is a federal subsidy for the commercial production of wind energy that provides a $24 tax credit for each megawatt-hour of energy sold. It is scheduled to phase out and expire at the end of 2019.

This report finds:

  • The PTC costs taxpayers billions of dollars in revenue. In 2017 the PTC cost $4.2 billion. The PTC will cost at least an additional $48 billion before it fully phases out as currently scheduled.
  • The PTC is a subsidy that benefits a few energy corporations. Only 15 parent companies account for more than three-fourths of all PTC eligibility—more than $19 billion in 10 years (2007-2016).
  • The PTC distorts electricity markets. The PTC encourages wind energy producers to accept negative prices. The negative prices in- crease costs for other energy producers and electricity suppliers.
  • The PTC operates within a web of wind energy incentives that increase costs to taxpayers, further distort electricity markets, and benefit large corporations.
  • Providing subsidies for wind energy benefits large corporations while distorting electricity markets. To further simplify the tax code, federal legislators should resist calls to renew the PTC and instead allow it to fully expire at the end of 2019.

This commentary was originally published in Heartland on Nov. 2, 2018. The full publication can be found here.

Key Facts
The PTC will cost at least an additional $48 billion before it fully phases out as currently scheduled.
Only 15 parent companies have accounted for more than three-fourths of all PTC eligibility since 2007.