Nuclear power giant Exelon is telling its employees to lobby Congress to end the production tax credit for wind power, which will expire at month’s end unless lawmakers vote to extend it.
In a letter dated Nov. 28 and obtained by the Alley on Wednesday, Exelon’s corporate communications office explains to employees how the PTC is hurting the company and encourages employees to tell Congress to end the tax credit.
As Exelon’s executives have said publicly in recent months, the letter states that the PTC is distorting electricity markets where Exelon’s nuclear fleet operates the most, including the Midwest. Exelon is the only major utility speaking out loudly against the tax credit.
“We have already seen negative effects on our profits directly related to the glut of wind power in the market that exists only to take advantage of the wind PTC,” the letter states.
Taking the letter a step further, Exelon wants its employees—almost 20,000 of them—to lobby Congress to end the tax credit.
“Starting next week, we’ll be asking employees’ to contact Congress before its vote on the wind PTC in the lame-duck session,” the almost 800-word letter states.
The fate of the PTC will likely hinge more on what, if any, kind of deal Congress and President Obama strike to avoid the fiscal cliff and renew a suite of tax-extenders. But the debate is nonetheless shining a light on the positions various lawmakers, interest groups and companies are taking on this key tax credit for wind power.
Other utility executives and renewable-energy advocates have accused Exelon of hypocrisy because the nuclear powerhouse has in the past supported tougher environmental rules and cap-and-trade legislation in the name of clean air and climate change and worked with environmental groups on that front.
Now the company is opposing policies that support renewable energy that helps the country reach those goals and working with conservative interest groups like the American Energy Alliance to defeat the policy.
John Rowe, who retired as CEO of Exelon earlier this year after almost 30 years in the utility industry, defended the company and said it simply comes down to Exelon’s bottom line.
“On cap-and-trade, Exelon’s friends tended to be toward the left,” Rowe told National Journal in an interview this week. “On minimizing subsidies, Exelon’s friends tend to be toward the right. It’s the same Exelon, just a different set of issues.”
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