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Exelon nuclear power company’s attack on wind energy splits Republicans

Nuclear Attack on Wind Turbines — Energy Wars Begin By MERRILL GOOZNER, The Fiscal Times September 21, 2012 The nation’s largest nuclear utility is leading a full court lobbying blitz to eliminate subsidies for the wind energy industry, which built 35 percent of new U.S. electricity generation capacity since 2007.
The campaign has opened a fissure between Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who backs elimination of the wind production tax credit (PTC), and some moderate Republicans who represent states that have benefited from wind power’s rapid expansion. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, whose state now gets 20 percent of its power from wind, recently likened Romney’s opposition to the PTC as “a knife in my back.”
Chicago-based Exelon Corp., which gets 92 percent of its electricity
from its 17 nuclear power plants, launched the campaign after chief
executive officer John Rowe retired last spring and was replaced by
Chris Crane, who previously ran the company’s nuclear division. Rowe
cultivated an image as “green” utility executive, supporting a carbon
tax and lobbying in favor of an “all of the above” energy strategy.
Under Rowe, the company also cultivated close ties with the home-grown
Obama administration, which backs the PTC.
But that changed abruptly under Crane. Two weeks ago, the company,
which has about 12 wind projects of its own, was thrown off the board
of the American Wind Energy Association, the trade group for the
industry. “They’re leading the campaign to defeat our industry’s
number one priority,” said Peter Kelly, the top lobbyist for AWEA. The
group says that nearly half the 75,000 new jobs created in the past
five years will disappear after January 1 if the wind PTC isn’t
Exelon spent $5.1 million to influence Congress in the first half of
the year, giving the company a large presence on Capitol Hill. Its
lobbyists have been working to eliminate the wind credits from tax
legislation that will be considered during a lame duck session where
Congress must deal with a host of expiring tax and spending measures,
better known as the fiscal cliff.


September 22, 2012 - Posted by | USA elections 2012

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