Introduction of legislation extending key wind energy tax credit

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Denise Bode released the following statement today in support of the bipartisan introduction yesterday of H.R. 3307, the "American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act." This legislation seeks to grant a four-year extension to the existing Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind power, hydroelectric, geothermal energy, bio-energy and municipal solid waste forms of electricity generation.

"I want to thank Representatives Dave Reichert and Earl Blumenauer for their leadership in saving and growing American jobs by sponsoring this important piece of legislation. This bipartisan support shows that American wind energy jobs are something that we can all agree are vital for our economic wellbeing and energy security.

Wind farm is creating one of the fastest-growing U.S. manufacturing sectors. Over the last six years, U.S. domestic production of wind turbines components has grown 12-fold to more than 400 facilities in 43 states, shifting manufacturing jobs from overseas back to the U.S. We should continue growing U.S. wind energy manufacturing jobs rather than lose them to other countries.

Wind energy means 75,000 jobs across the U.S. today and could support 500,000 American jobs across the country in manufacturing, construction, engineering, development and other fields less than 20 years from now according to a U.S. Department of Energy study.

The recent stability of the Production Tax Credit has provided the foundation of wind energy’s transformation of a new manufacturing sector based on American ingenuity: wind has supplied more than a third of all new electric capacity in the U.S. over the past four years.

Surveys consistently show that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of clean wind energy and the Made-in-the-USA jobs that it helps create. Wind energy received 89 percent public approval in a recent poll."

Former U.S. Army General and presidential candidate Wesley Clark, now an energy company executive, said today in support of the bill that, "Wind and other clean domestic energy sources are critical to our national security as global competition for resources intensifies. This bill will keep domestic clean energy manufacturing growing, and strengthen our economic security."

The Production Tax Credit:

The PTC is a tax incentive that helps energy developers raise private funds to bring renewable energy projects to completion. Private investment generated over the last four years of relative PTC stability averages $17 billion a year.

The wind energy PTC will expire in 2012 unless Congress takes action. Failure to extend the PTC will lead to job losses and will put the brakes on the progress we’ve made as a nation to include clean, affordable, homegrown energy as part of the U.S. electricity portfolio.

Facing the threat of the PTC expiring, wind farm project developers have become hesitant to plan future U.S. projects and American manufacturers have seen a marked decrease in orders. The wind industry is facing the recurrence of the boom-bust cycle it saw in previous years when the PTC was allowed to expire. In the years following expiration, installations dropped by between 73 and 93 percent, resulting in significant job losses.

What other leaders have said recently about the wind energy PTC:

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R): "The wind industry has utilized a production tax credit, which has helped the industry see steady growth this decade. I support the continued use of those tools as a way to spur investment in our communities and create sorely needed jobs."

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Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R): "We cannot overlook the impact of the wind industry on economic development and jobs in Iowa," Branstad also is on the record supporting congressional approval of a long-term extension of the wind energy production tax credit to give businesses looking to invest somestability and predictability.

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24 Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition: "Although tax credits for wind energy have long enjoyed bipartisan support, they are scheduled to expire next year. Wind-related manufacturing will slow if the credits are not extended, and some of the tax credit’s benefit will be lost if Congress pursues a last minute extension. It is important to have consistency in policy to support the continued development of wind manufacturing in the United States."