G5: Public Policy
Winning the Wind Energy Battle
When Congress avoided the fiscal cliff and passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act on January 2, they decided to include a one-year extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC). The PTC provides a vital tax benefit for the first 10 years of qualifying wind energy projects, much the way the oil and gas industry has benefited for decades from tax credits, which will help spur the expansion of this industry.
Garnering support for the PTC extension was a long road, and its success is due in large part to the leadership of key members of the business community, and Sprint Nextel Corp. was one such advocate. Sprint was not an obvious ally in the wind energy fight. The company does not make turbines nor is it a utility company. But because it had committed to source 10 percent of its power from renewables by 2017, the Kansas-based company saw the demise of the PTC as a threat to its business interests.
Sprint joined Ceres as a company network member in 2011 to help facilitate its ambitious, multi-year Corporate Responsibility Priorities. Ceres brought external stakeholders together who encouraged Sprint to show leadership by advocating for policies closely aligned with its internal renewable energy goals.
Working alongside Kansas City Power & Light, Sprint helped win approval to build the Spearhead Wind Farm in Kansas. CEO Dan Hesse also met with leadership of the U.S. Department of Energy regarding renewable energy opportunities. And then, this past fall, Sprint joined the national PTC debate, arguing that for consumers of wind electricity, the economic benefits of the PTC are invaluable.
With the passage of the PTC extension, the nation’s clean energy infrastructure will continue to expand rapidly, creating opportunities for companies like Sprint and others to transition to low-carbon energy solutions to power their businesses.
For more Governance for Sustainability examples, click here.