The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Bipartisan Congressional Leaders to Ways and Means: Act Now on PTC

Leaders of a bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill last week joined the U.S. wind power industry to sound an urgent call for the House Ways and Means Committee to find a vehicle as soon as possible for extending the successful Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy — and avert thousands of layoffs already beginning in factories across America.

Discussing the urgent situation were U.S. Reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Steve King (R-Iowa) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). They spoke with reporters about the bipartisan support for the PTC in Congress and the need for swift passage of the measure. The Congressmen were joined by Steve Lockard, CEO of TPI Composites, a U.S. company that manufactures wind blades at a factory in Newton, Iowa—a town previously devastated by the loss of a Maytag factory, he noted in the press conference.

The press conference came a day before a hearing in the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures. Entitled “Hearing on Certain Expiring Tax Provisions,” the hearing covered various tax extenders, as they are known, including the PTC. The PTC by far was the most discussed topic and received the greatest level of support.

“Our company has created more than 700 new jobs in Newton, and a second wind energy company there now employs over 100 people,” Lockard said. “Our industry can do the same in hard-hit towns all across the U.S., if Congress will let us and doesn’t increase taxes on wind power next year.”

AWEA CEO Denise Bode, asked House members to insist on swift action on the tax credit. Bode also released new AWEA graphics illustrating the quarter-by-quarter falloff in U.S. wind energy employment from the 75,000 jobs at the start of the year, as wind turbine orders peak around mid-year amid uncertainty over the tax credit. A full 37,000 American wind industry workers could be laid off over the course of this year if Congress does not take action.

“Timing is everything,” she said. “Our situation is urgent because we’re already seeing the loss of over $15 billion a year in private investment in America, and 37,000 U.S. jobs that depend on early extension of the Production Tax Credit.”  

“Energy is an economic and national security priority and a bipartisan issue,” said Congressman Reichert. “The certainty that extending the PTC provides can and will spur growth and development, reduce electricity costs and create jobs. The PTC makes American workers competitive with their counterparts overseas so that American households can look forward to a future of affordable energy.”

“It is vital that the U.S. continue its support for wind energy, which supports manufacturing jobs, drives innovation, protects our environment, and improves our energy security,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “Extending the production tax credit is an important step that Congress can take now to preserve these benefits for the future.”

Blumenauer, who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, said he’s heard straight from the citizens of the state he represents the impact the policy uncertainty is having. “People are making investment decisions right this minute,” he said, noting that wind projects involve investments of “tens of millions of dollars, sometimes more.” But those investments are on hold. “I’ve heard from people back home saying, ‘We’ve got to pull back,’” he said.

King called his home state of Iowa a wind energy success story and proof positive that wind power generates economic rewards. “Iowa was the first state to generate 20 percent of its electricity from wind,” he said. “Now, wind supports as many as 5,000 Iowa jobs, and $11 million in annual land lease payments to Iowa farmers. This success story is spreading across the country because wind industry leaders know how to expand this business and provide more U.S. jobs. They just need Washington to provide stable, low tax rates. The Production Tax Credit means keeping investment dollars in the market place — not in the hands of government. Now is the time for stability in the wind industry, and the PTC offers just that."

With Iowa’s high wind power penetrations and the resulting jobs, Kind said in the press conference, Iowans today truly “understand what it does economically, and they understand how clean of a power it is.”

King was scheduled to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee the next day.

American wind power has generated $15 billion to $20 billion a year in private investment over the past five years, in the process becoming one of the fastest growing U.S. manufacturing industries. But with the tax credit that is wind power’s primary policy driver set to expire at the end of the year, the supply chain is already feeling the uncertainty, and layoffs have now begun.

A recent study by Navigant Consulting found that extending the PTC will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration would kill 37,000 jobs within a year.

Wind power fosters economic development and job creation while providing affordable energy. Nearly nine out of 10 voters — Republicans, Democrats and Independents — agree that increasing the amount of energy the nation gets from wind power is a wise choice.

In the press conference, Blumenauer underscored the bipartisan nature of wind power. Referring to previous extensions of the PTC, he said, “We’ve done this seven times before since 1992 under both Republican and Democrat administrations, and Republican and Democrat Congresses.”

Carl Levesque is the communications editor at AWEA. This article first appeared in the AWEA Windletter and was reprinted with permission from the American Wind Energy Association.

Image: Ryan Rodrick Beiler via Shutterstock

RELATED ARTICLES

The Big Question: What Is the Most Frustrating Part about Working in Renewable Energy?

Renewable Energy World Editors

Every industry has its challenges and misunderstandings. Sometimes the obstacles we face in simply trying to do our jobs can be very frustrating.

Renewable energy community

State and Metro Governments, Consumer Actions Drive Dramatic Shift in US Energy Landscape

Ron Pernick, Clean Edge The United States is experiencing a significant shift in its energy landscape. Last year, utility-scale wind and solar power combined for 47 percent of new generation capacity in the U.S. Based on this expansion, 11 states ...

Understanding the Yieldco Structure for Renewable Energy Project Finance

Gregory F. Jenner, Edward D. Einowski and Adam D. Schurle, Contributors In the 1950s, the federal government sought to boost home ownership by increasing private lending. To this end, the government facilitated mortgage lending by creating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They provided liquidity to ...

May Dividends Rise: Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2015

Tom Konrad, Contributor My Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2015 model portfolio had a good May, despite headwinds from the strengthening dollar and declines in clean energy stocks in general.  As a whole, the model portfolio rose 2.2% for th...
Carl is Editor & Publications Manager at the American Wind Energy Association, where has worked since 2006. At AWEA he oversees AWEA's online and print publications including the Wind Energy Weekly, Windpower Update, and other products. He has wor...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in Brazil – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

Mastering RETScreen® 4 for Clean Energy Project Analysis

Hands-on modeling class using RETScreen 4. Michael Ross designed this co...

RECAM WEEK

RECAM WEEK will bring together the incredibly successful SPG Central Am...

COMPANY BLOGS

Meteorological Technology International Magazine - SENSORS AND SENS...

Over the past 10 years, these sensing technologies have spread tre...

SunEdison Expands Residential Market Offerings with New PPA, Sales ...

SunEdison has largely focussed on the commercial and utility-scale solar...

Deadline for Inclusion in Solar Power World's Top Solar Contractors...

UPDATE: The official deadline for the Solar Power World T...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS