The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates that COVID-19 could put over 35,000 jobs at risk and jeopardize $43 billion in investments and payments to rural communities.
According to AWEA, the virus is putting about 25 GW of wind projects at risk, representing $35 billion in investments. This includes the potential loss of over $8 billion to rural communities in state and local tax payments, as well as land-lease payments to private landowners.
Rural America may have the most economic loss, due to 99% of wind projects being in these regions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is harming the wind industry’s ability to build the wind farms envisioned by Congressional legislation and putting at risk 35,000 wind energy jobs,” AWEA Chief Executive Officer Tom Kiernan states. “To best protect these jobs and the health of our existing workforce, we are asking Congress to immediately extend the schedule and improve the liquidity of our existing tax credits.”
AWEA is asking Congress to allow existing policies to continue during this period. Congress can help eliminate the uncertainty created by expected delays and allow investment and hiring to move forward by providing two additional years of safe harbor for projects commencing construction after December 31, 2015, letting them receive the tax credits as originally envisioned.
“There is a record amount of wind projects under development. Delays caused by COVID-19 will make it difficult for some U.S. wind projects to come online in time to meet financial and economic obligations, putting projects at risk of cancellation,” said AWEA Vice President of Research and Analytics John Hensley.