The headlines say it all:
- No Wind Tax Credit Could Blow NC Jobs Off Track [North Carolina]
- Wind energy industry faces stiff headwind [Texas]
- Wind industry may be in jeopardy [Iowa]
- Gamesa lays off 73 Cambria workers [Pennsylvania]
- Invenergy's Roanoke Co. plan delayed until 2015 [Virginia]
- NRG Systems lays off 18 workers [Vermont]
- GE blames drop in wind turbine sales on tax uncertainty [nationwide]
Over the past decade, the United States has led the world in wind power generation – and the benefits to our country are growing daily.
The cost of wind energy has fallen more than 90 percent since 1980. The industry has created more than 75,000 jobs. And our country’s goal of energy independence is coming closer with every turn of the turbine blade.
A critical element in this growth strategy has been the Production Tax Credit (PTC) that supports wind businesses by providing them with a credit for the clean, renewable power they generate. As a result of this investment, states like Iowa and South Dakota now get as much as 20 percent of their electricity from wind power.
But now all of this positive momentum is under threat unless Congress acts now to extend its support for wind.
The PTC is currently scheduled to expire at the end of this year, and as the headlines above vividly show, this is threatening to cause untold amounts of damage to our burgeoning wind industry. This is no idle threat. In previous years when the PTC expired, there have been massive drops in wind installations. In 2000, when Congress declined to extend the PTC, for instance, new wind installations fell 93 percent. Industry groups estimate that not extending the PTC would cause 37,000 Americans to lose their jobs. Continuing the PTC would create 17,000 new wind-energy jobs in the next four years.
Tomorrow, the Senate has a chance to take a big step forward in ensuring America keeps creating jobs, generating new sources of clean renewable energy and stays competitive in the global market for wind energy equipment. The Senate is set to vote on tax-extenders legislation that would keep the PTC in place, and keep the wind industry growing.
Before Congress leaves town for its summer recess, our elected representatives need to support our wind industry by supporting the PTC in the tax extenders legislation tomorrow.
You too can urge your senator to keep our clean energy economy moving forward and support the renewable energy tax credit. Click here to see the members of the Senate Finance Committee, and urge them to support the PTC on Twitter by tweeting a message to them with the hashtag #PTC.
Follow Nathanael Greene on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@nwgreene