We couldn’t agree more, and it’s pretty clear that many Americans do, too, from the overwhelming majorities wind power regularly racks up in public opinion polls to the bipartisan group of Members of Congress led by Reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) who joined last week to introduce legislation to extend the federal wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) for four years beyond its scheduled expiration Dec. 31, 2012. And, that includes the Republican Presidential candidates–Mr. Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain–who signed a wind turbine blade during the Iowa Straw Poll, and Govs. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) and Terry Branstad (R-Iowa) who have publicly called for an extension of the PTC.
On the other side of the aisle, there is former President Bill Clinton, who coincidentally strongly supported wind turbines and solar power yesterday as well, during an appearance on the Daily Show, saying that America has a competitive advantage in those technologies and "what we need to do is to make sure that we meet the competition in terms of tax incentives and other things, to bring these manufacturing jobs here. If we do, we’re going to do fine, we have a great venture capital network, we have massive capacity in all of these cleantech areas."
As our slogan puts it, wind power is clean, affordable, and homegrown. What’s not to like? And if that’s not enough, here’s more:
– The wind Production Tax Credit has leveraged an average of $17 billion a year in private investment over the last four years
– Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing U.S. manufacturing industries. 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, "insourcing" manufacturing jobs from overseas back to the U.S.
– Wind power provides badly-needed support for hard-pressed rural economies, and rural economic development. Farmers and ranchers can receive lease payments of up to $120,000 over 20 years for each turbine on their property, and rural counties are seeing substantial increases in property tax revenues.
– Wind power supports 75,000 jobs today across the U.S. and the promise of 500,000 American jobs in manufacturing, construction, engineering, development and other fields less than 20 years from now, according to a U.S. Department of Energy study carried out under the Bush Administration.
For all of these reasons and more, extending the PTC just makes sense for America’s economy and future, whether your state or political affiliation is red or blue.
Tom Gray, www.awea.org/blog/