Mitt Romney would phase out the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy projects, according to an energy lobbyist who represented him in a debate about energy policy yesterday.
In sharp contrast, the Obama Administration is calling for a permanent extension of the PTC, due to expire December 31, and has been leaning on Congress for many months to renew it.
Romney's position is "these kinds of technology incentives are a bad idea," said Linda Stuntz during the energy policy debate hosted by The Business Roundtable. Stuntz was deputy secretary of energy under former President George H.W. Bush.
Stuntz says: "He thinks this is an illustration of one that has probably outlived its usefulness, but as to how it should be precisely put down - whether it should be a one-year [phase-out], whether it should be a longer period - he hasn't come completely to ground on that," reports The Hill.
Romney is in favor of keeping subsidies for fossil fuel companies, however.
When the PTC last expired, back in 2004, wind installations fell off sharply. Numerous projects and even factories have already been cancelled because they don't make financial sense without the PTC.
Where does the GOP candidate stand on other issues? It's hard to tell, since his positions have changed dramatically since he was governor of Massachusetts. During his term, Romney pushed for closures of coal-fired power plants and he endorsed a program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He also embraced solar and wind power.
Not any more. A recent editorial in The New York Times paints Romney as a skeptic on global warming, a champion of oil and fossil fuels, an enemy of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Stanford University professor Dan Reicher, who represented President Obama during the debate, echoed the White House's previous assertions that Romney is hostile to renewable energy investments and that his policies would allow other countries, especially China, to assume the leadership position.
Reicher says: “I think there is a number of areas where Governor Romney’s bet is on essentially being able to drill our way out of this. I don’t think the resources are there overall, I don’t think it gives us the diversity of supply we need from a security perspective,” reports The Hill.