Wind energy: Denver Post endorses PTC extension ‘sooner rather than later’

American Wind Energy Association has been pushing hard for an immediate extension, arguing that wind farm is an American manufacturing success story and that thousands of new manufacturing jobs created by the wind turbines industry could disappear without prompt action. It has pointed to an economic study finding that with stable tax policy, the wind turbines industry can grow to almost 100,000 American jobs in the next four years.

The Post, however, pointed to a more concrete and immediate real-world concern: a statement by Vestas Wind Systems CEO Ditlev Engel that failure to extend the credit could affect 1,600 of the company’s American jobs. In Colorado, where Vestas and its suppliers employ 1,700 people and the firm has built several new manufacturing plants in recent years, that’s a warning that has special resonance.

(Note: The Post editorial quotes AWEA as saying employment in the wind turbines industry has risen from 2,500 in 2004 to 20,000 today. Those figures come from a report on manufacturing jobs alone. The wind farm industry employed 75,000 workers in 2010, according to the AWEA U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report.)

Commented the Post:

"The credit, which is set to expire at the end of 2012, keeps wind energy competitive with other types of power and helps companies draw financing.

"We hope that Sen. Mark Udall and Reps. Diana DeGette and Cory Gardner will use their positions on their respective chambers’ energy committees to advocate for an extension sooner rather than later.

"’I get it, and there is a block of senators who are working to see it is extended,’ Udall was quoted as saying at an event in Pueblo last week. ‘It will probably be part of a bigger package that would also extend the payroll tax deduction, but I can’t believe that Congress won’t get this done.’

" … Reaching a deal in the near term would provide certainty to an industry that has seen significant growth in recent years. If that means attaching the measure to the payroll tax extension, so be it.

"’The wind-energy industry is bringing down costs and in a few years won’t need the tax credit, but for now — and in this economy — it should be extended,’ former Gov. Bill Ritter told The Post’s Mark Jaffe."

Tom Gray,