National Chamber Network Says Tax Incentive is Critical to Boosting American Wind Energy Jobs and Innovation

“As leaders of our local business communities, we’ve seen firsthand the economic development benefits of wind energy,” said Jim Heeter, President and CEO of the Greater Kansas City (MO) Chamber of Commerce.

“From Iowa and Kansas to South Dakota, Indiana, Texas and Ohio, wind energy is helping us attract new clean energy companies and capital, while making our existing businesses in manufacturing, construction and other sectors viable into the future. We need Congress to support our local communities by extending this critical tax incentive.”

Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, the only national, non-partisan clean energy network and information hub for local chambers of commerce, today issued a letter calling on Congress to extend the nation’s key tax incentive for wind energy, the Production Tax Credit (PTC). With 240 local chambers from 47 states participating in its network, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy emphasized in its letter that allowing the PTC to expire at the end of 2012 would hurt local economies, send jobs and capital elsewhere, and risk ceding America’s clean energy leadership to our global competitors.

The Production Tax Credit for wind enjoys broad and diverse business support, ranging from the U.S Chamber of Commerce to the National Association of Manufacturers, and major corporations like Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Sprint, Nike, and Starbucks. It now includes support from local chambers of commerce from around the country.

This local chamber support comes as cities and regions nationwide continue to diversify their local economies due to wind energy. Nearly 500 facilities across 44 states now manufacture for the wind energy industry, creating new opportunities for American businesses up and down the supply chain. From fasteners and castings to power convertors, sensors, and large turbine blades, American businesses small and large are powering this homegrown energy industry. In fact, with the support of the Production Tax Credit for wind, 60 percent of a wind turbine’s value is now produced within the United States, compared to 25 percent prior to 2005.

“Local chambers know that for their local wind energy businesses and suppliers to grow, investors need certainty in the wind market,” said Diane Doucette, Executive Director of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy. “The PTC is the key mechanism creating that certainty. We’re already seeing layoffs throughout the industry as Congress stalls on the PTC. Allowing the PTC to expire would slow wind projects, decrease orders for our manufacturers, and result in even more jobs lost around the country.”

As the chambers’ letter states, the PTC has enabled the wind industry to slash wind energy costs by 90 percent since 1980, making wind energy a viable and cost-effective source of electricity in communities across the nation. Electricity prices are set by the operating costs of power plants, including the cost of fuel inputs. Once turbines are installed in a particular location, wind energy places downward pressure on local electricity prices.

“Wind will always be a free resource, in contrast to the price volatility we often see with more traditional fuels,” said Angelique Espinoza, Public Affairs Manager for the Boulder (CO) Chamber of Commerce. “There are a lot of unknowns in our community’s energy future, but knowing that wind will remain a strong option in the mix means reduced risks for the business and commercial energy users who use and pay for about two thirds of the power consumed in Boulder. Businesses know that wind energy is important for consistently lower and more predictable electricity rates.”

With member chambers located in the nation’s largest wind-producing states, including Texas, Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota, Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy concluded its letter with:

“Ending the Production Tax Credit for wind… will put us behind in this critical leg of the global race for clean energy innovation… Extending the Production Tax Credit for wind is economically sound policy: it creates jobs, promotes clean energy, keeps electricity prices low for consumers and promotes the vitality of our communities.”

The letter is available here:

Learn more about the Production Tax Credit:

Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE) is a national Clean Energy network and Information Hub for local chambers of commerce. Created and led by local chambers, CICE helps fellow chambers and their member companies successfully navigate and prosper in the clean energy space. CICE provides access to clean energy information, best practices, energy experts, incentives, and business opportunities. CICE’s Advisory Council includes Chamber CEOs from every region of the country.