The wind industry supports more than 75,000 American-made jobs around the country, and is helping to lead the way toward America's clean energy future. But right now Congress is holding the fate of thousands of those jobs in its hands.
The Production Tax Credit (PTC), a federal policy that helps level the playing field and supports these jobs, is set to expire at the end of the year. If the PTC is allowed to expire, approximately half of all existing US wind jobs are expected to be lost before the end of the year -- something we can't afford during this tough economy.
As my colleague Dave Hamilton, Director for Clean Energy of the Beyond Coal Campaign, said, "Every day of uncertainty for the industry is causing more delayed projects and more layoffs."
In response, today the Sierra Club launched "Wind Works," a new campaign to advocate for renewal of the PTC. This campaign is the Sierra Club's move to the next level in advocating for renewable energy jobs and ensuring America transitions to a clean energy economy.
"Wind Works" will ensure lawmakers know that Americans want clean energy solutions and that they won't sit back while congressional inaction causes further job losses.
Moving America toward a clean energy future will not only create new, high-quality American jobs, but will also yield significant public health benefits. Renewable energy like wind power replaces energy from fossil fuels that cause air pollution, which leads to heart attacks, asthma attacks and more than $100 billion in medical costs.
Wind energy is an important part of America's energy mix:
- Over 400 American manufacturing plants build wind components.
- Wind is supplying 25 percent more electricity to Americans than it was a year ago.
- States like Iowa and South Dakota already generate 20 percent of their electricity from wind power and that number is growing quickly -- in March 2012 wind was responsible for 29 percent of the energy supply in Iowa and 32 percent in South Dakota.
- The wind industry is on track to produce 20 percent of America's electricity by 2030.