WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new study released this week finds that with stable tax policy the wind industry can create and save 54,000 American jobs in the next four years, including growing the wind manufacturing sector by one third to 46,000 American manufacturing jobs. This will keep the wind sector on track toward supporting the 500,000 jobs by 2030 projected in a report by the U.S. Department of Energy during the George W. Bush administration.
The report completed by Navigant finds that if Congress allows the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind to expire, jobs in the wind industry will be cut in half, meaning a loss of 37,000 American jobs and a one-third cut to American wind manufacturing jobs, while private investment in the industry would drop by nearly two thirds. Meanwhile, extending the PTC will create 17,000 American jobs, Navigant finds. The report can be found here.
“American manufacturing jobs are coming back, with tens of thousands of new jobs from wind power,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “But these jobs could vanish if Congress allows the Production Tax Credit to expire, in effect enacting a targeted tax increase, and sending our jobs to foreign countries. Congress must act now to keep this American manufacturing success story going.”
With the support of a stable PTC, wind energy is powering one of America’s fastest growing manufacturing sectors. Over the last six years, U.S. domestic production of wind turbine components has grown 12-fold to more than 400 facilities in 43 states, shifting manufacturing jobs from overseas back to the U.S.
The Navigant study finds that wind energy’s geographically diverse manufacturing base would spread job gains around the country. States that would see significant job and private investment gains from a PTC extension include Colorado, Texas, Iowa, Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, Oregon, North Dakota and Ohio.
“We have made a significant investment during the last three years creating several hundred jobs for the state of Illinois to support the wind industry domestically,” said Terry Royer, CEO of Winergy Drive Systems Corporation. “With the uncertainty of the PTC extension, we are seeing the hesitation of our customers to make continued commitments for orders in late 2012 and 2013. An immediate extension is needed to support the investment we have made in our operations and secure the jobs that have been created.”
With a job-killing tax increase on the horizon and the PTC’s future uncertain, businesses are hesitant to plan future US wind projects, American manufacturers have seen a drop in orders, and layoffs have already started. For the purposes of the American wind industry manufacturing sector, which needs lead time to make its products, the PTC effectively expires at the end of this year.
Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by Representatives Dave Reichert (R, WA-08) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03) seeks to grant a four-year extension to the existing Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy (H.R. 3307, the “American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act”). This legislation has garnered the support of 36 cosponsors including 11 Republicans.
The legislation recently received the endorsement of a broad, coalition of more than 370 members, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Edison Electric Institute, the Western Governors’ Association, the United Steelworkers and many members of the environmental community. A four-year PTC extension also has the support of the bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition comprised of 23 Republican and Democrat Governors from across the U.S.
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.