Tester, Walsh fighting for Montana’s renewable energy sector

Senators: Montana needs all-of-the-above energy strategy

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh are pushing to extend production tax credits to keep Montana’s renewable energy sector growing and to create more jobs.

In 2013, the wind and solar industries supported more than 1,000 jobs in Montana, and by extending the production tax credits it will encourage energy companies to hire more workers.

In a series of letters to U.S. Senate leadership and the Senate Finance Committee, Tester and Walsh are asking to extend both the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

The Senators said extending the PTC and ITC will give wind and solar companies the ability to expand and to make long-term business decisions.

“Traditional energy sources like coal, oil and gas are not going away, but we need to make smart investments in all of our resources to strengthen our energy security and lower costs for ratepayers,” Tester said. “Reauthorizing these tax credits will provide companies with the certainty they need to compete in the global economy and create jobs.”

“As I travel around the state talking to Montanans it is clear that we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy and that includes advancing renewable resources,” Walsh said. “If we are going to lead the country to energy security, Montana entrepreneurs need the certainty provided by extending these important tax credits to help create jobs.”

Tester and Walsh also want to update the ITC to ensure solar developers have enough time to properly plan and construct solar projects with the support of private investors. Under current law, solar projects eligible for investment tax credits must be operational before the credits expire, or the investors must pay the difference.

Tester, a supporter of an all-of-the-above energy strategy, last week joined Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to announce a grant to help the Crow Nation to construct a hydropower project at Yellowtail Dam.