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Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic, speaking at a panel discussion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan urging the President and the Congress of the United States to expeditiously reinstate and extend the production tax credit for wind energy, which expired at the end of 2014, was approved today by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.

“A major driver of wind power development in the nation, the production tax credit for wind energy has promoted job creation and resulted in significant economic and environmental benefits,” said Senator Whelan (D-Atlantic). “As we look to increase our reliance on renewable sources of power for a more sustainable future in New Jersey, these credits are necessary incentives and must be continuously renewed.”

The Production Tax Credit is a federal incentive that provides financial support for the development of renewable energy facilities, including wind energy, by providing a per kilowatt-hour incentive for the first 10 years of a renewable energy facility’s operation. Originally enacted in 1992, the production tax credit for wind energy and other renewable energy technologies has been renewed and expanded numerous times before expiring in 2014.

When the tax credit is consistently available, production and investment in the wind energy sector dramatically increases, reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, driving innovation and economic development, lowering costs, and providing important environmental benefits, including a reduction in carbon emissions.

The reinstatement of the production tax credit for wind energy will assist New Jersey as it continues its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to implement the State’s “Offshore Wind Economic Development Act,” which calls for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to implement an offshore wind energy certificate program to support a minimum of 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind energy.

“New Jersey has tremendous potential to be a national leader in wind power, especially in the offshore wind arena off the coast of Atlantic City,” said Senator Whelan. “But in order for the tax credit to work as intended to spur the growth of wind energy projects that will benefit our economy and environment for many years to come, the Board of Public Utilities must also do its job.”

The Senator refers to the BPU’s repeated rejection of the Fishermen’s Energy project that proposed a five-turbine wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City in compliance with OWEDA. Fishermen’s Energy met all permitting requirements and received a $47 million grant from the Department of Energy to begin its project, but the BPU denied approval claiming that project had not secured adequate federal subsidies to support its price.

“We have the power to thrust New Jersey forward in the race for offshore wind and clean energy, and the time to act is now,” added Senator Whelan.

The resolution passed the Senate Environment and Energy Committee with a vote of 4-0-1. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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