CHICAGO-- Home and business energy costs have been falling in the Midwest, and the wind industry is claiming some of the credit. Illinois is second in the nation in wind-energy production.
Bob Fagen, a senior associate at Synapse Energy Economics, says that while falling energy costs are a win for consumers, other energy sectors aren't pleased, and that's why they've begun a campaign to try to derail renewal of the wind production tax credit, which is pending in Congress.
"When the wind is built and is available, it runs. And when it runs, that generally means that natural-gas-fired or coal-fired plants do not run, so it puts downward pressure on prices."
Illinois wind power production is at more than 3000 megawatts, enough for about 660,000 homes.
Fagen says the wind production tax credit isn't a loan or a freebie because there is no benefit until after production happens, and that means manufacturing jobs.
"The real issue is that wind is a clean, inexpensive energy resource, homegrown, and it makes a ton of sense to continue to promote the wind industry."
The tax credit has been in place for about 20 years, and has seen bipartisan support, although this year, it's being debated on the campaign trail.
Exelon Corporation, a major operator of nuclear power plants, is urging the wind-energy credit be discontinued, saying government funding should go to research and not production of components.