Pena brought in to rap Romney on wind power credit - He was Denver's first Hispanic mayor and he went on to hold two cabinet positions for President Bill Clinton -- first as transportation secretary and then as energy secretary.
Mr. Pena probably does not realize the only time virtually that wind energy makes a significant contribution to ERCOT's generation is from midnight to 6 am, a time when load is lowest. Even then the contribution is intermittent and highly variable.
But the important issue is that a tax credit and a tax deduction for expensed items are not the same. Once the capital is invested, a tax credit requires no expenditure of money to get. In fact, since the PTC is based on energy generated and not on money spent, the wind generating company may actually get more money than what its income tax bill is.
To be able to deduct an expense from income taxes, a fossil-fuel generating company must spend money for fuel, maintenance and operating costs, etc. Those expenditures create or maintain jobs within their own firms and within those of their suppliers. Those expenditures typically result in sales taxes that go to local and state governments. PTCs do none of these things.
PTCs merely reward what would normally be a bad business decision--building a facility that is not economically competitive. In fact, the firms investing in wind and solar do so strictly to get PTCs to offset the tax bills of their parent companies. PTCs are a "gimme" program for which non-participating taxpayers are on the hook.