Texas biggest earner from wind tax credit, study finds

HOUSTON — Texas wind power producers earned far more money from a federal tax credit than taxpayers in the state paid to fund the renewable energy policy, according to a study by the Institute for Energy Research released this week.

The money earned in Texas from the wind production tax credit exceeded the amount paid by more than $394 million in 2012, the free-market think tank found. Texas is the nation’s largest wind power producer.

The federal wind production tax credit, which was enacted 10 years ago and narrowly avoided expiring this year, gives wind developers a 2.2-cent tax break for every kilowatt-hour of energy produced.

Wind power producers in Oklahoma, Iowa and North Dakota also recorded a net gain of more than $100 million each from the tax break, compared to what the states shelled out.

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The study analyzed the amount of money each state and the District of Columbia earned and paid for the federal wind tax credit. It determined that thirty states and the District of Columbia are losing money on the policy. Five states lost more than $100 million last year: California, New York, Florida, New Jersey and Ohio.

States in the Northeast region recorded the largest collective net loss from the wind tax credit, a total of $591.8 million, the study noted. The Southeast region lost $559.3, the study found.

“A majority of U.S. states — generally states that lack the geography and wind supply to support wind power — unfairly shoulder the burden of these subsidies,” the report stated. “This report shows that federal wind subsidies are terribly inequitable.”

The oil and gas industry also receives a number of tax breaks, which have been targeted in budget discussions in Congress this year.

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