Sunshine, wind and waves are all free gifts from God and expressions of God’s amazing power and love. North Carolina is blessed with all three in abundance. That puts our state in a wonderful position to lead the nation and the world in clean, renewable energy production – energy that does not pollute the air, harm human health or worsen climate change. Indeed, we have laid the ground work for a healthy offshore wind industry already. So, what is the problem?
One very immediate threat to continued progress in developing wind power in North Carolina is the unfortunate reality that the all-important production tax credit (PTC) for wind power is due to expire on December 31, 2012. With the help of this credit, one-third of new U.S. power generation in the last four to five years has been wind. Without the credit, the industry will falter and tens of thousands of U.S. jobs (1000 in N.C. alone) will likely be lost.
According to a letter that National Interfaith Power and Light just sent to Congress:
A recent study by Navigant Consulting shows that stable tax policy would allow the wind industry to create and save 54,000 American jobs in the next four years. Additionally, the PTC has enabled the industry to slash wind energy costs – 90 percent since 1980. Wind now supplies more than 3 percent of U.S. demand and accounts for 35 percent of new power capacity installed in the last four years. Electricity rates consistently decrease when wind enters the market. Failing to renew the PTC could immediately raise prices for the renewable electricity we buy today.
This excellent letter by Rev Cannon Sally Bingham concludes with these powerful words:
As people of faith, we are called to love our neighbors and to be stewards of Creation. We see our neighbors suffering from asthma, heart attacks, and respiratory illness caused or exacerbated by air pollution. These effects are felt most keenly by the most vulnerable among us: children, the elderly, and lower income families.
Investing in…clean energy creates jobs, saves consumers money, protects our health, and safeguards Creation. Supporting clean energy is a moral decision that shows our concern for the least among us who suffer most from carbon pollution, as well as our children and the many generations to come. Please act responsibly to renew this important investment in clean energy and climate change solutions.
North Carolina has the greatest offshore wind potential of any state on the East Coast, but to develop that potential businesses need consistent rules and governmental support that will make this clean, renewable energy competitive with the historically heavily subsidized fossil fuel and nuclear power sources.
As a pre-New Year’s resolution, why not send a letter, e-mail, or make a call to your representative and both Senators Hagan and Burr, urging them to support renewing the wind power tax credit so that our wind energy industry stays healthy and can continue to grow? I have. It only takes a minute to tell them that as a person of faith, you view wind energy as one of the ways we can care for creation by reducing carbon pollution, protect the health of the least of these, support the local economy, and help protect the future for generations to come. Please act today. Visit www.ncipl.org for more hope-filled ways to respond to the climate crisis.
–Dr. Kathy Shea, NCIPL Co-Director