AWEA IN THE NEWS
Tens of thousands of layoffs in American wind energy seen at stake in tax extender package
In the process of preparing year-end numbers on the industry, the American Wind Energy Association reports that tens of thousands of Americans could lose their jobs or not get called back from layoffs without the 1603 investment tax credit for renewable energy that hangs in the balance as Congress and the White House work to settle a tax package.
"We have people being laid off right now, and we expect to see more without fast action on the tax extenders now being negotiated," said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. "The 1603 tax credit extension would help bring them back as soon as possible." According to the trade group's research, there are over 15,000 jobs in the manufacturing pipeline alone. "We are risking those jobs by not sending a clear signal that America remains open for business in wind energy," Bode said.
The 1603 tax investment credit saved 55,000 jobs in wind energy, as estimated by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Overall employment has reached 85,000 in the American wind industry, as installed capacity has grown 40 percent in each of the past two years. Wind now generates 20 percent of the electricity in Iowa; and on Oct. 28, high winds pushed wind power to 25 percent of the electrical generation in Texas.
AWEA reported that:
The 1603 investment tax credit for renewable energy is providing critical manufacturing jobs and encouraging economic investment in America at a crucial time. For example, just last Friday, a wind energy manufacturing plant was opened in Kansas which will employ close to 500 directly. This week Michigan announced its first plant to make large wind turbines, from 100% American parts. Other companies are already announcing additional plants and jobs in the area to supply these manufacturers.
Without an extension of the 1603 program, AWEA expects to see the layoffs or failures to call back tens of thousands of Americans who will remain on the unemployment rolls, while we lose the technological and manufacturing race to China.
With the 1603 program we will keep our rural communities vibrant. Each 1603 supported wind energy development pays thousands of dollars in lease payments to local landholders and in local taxes allowing more farm and ranch families to continue their way of life.
Without the 1603 extension, we'll see more rural Americans out of work and lose more of our family farms and ranches.
With the 1603 program we can reduce America's dependence on foreign sources of energy and fossil fuels, which at the moment are increasing, not decreasing, in the energy mix. We need to diversify our energy portfolio and a tax credit is a good way to do so.
Without a 1603 extension, American will become more dependent on unfriendly foreign counties for our energy, continue burning more fossil fuels, and make less domestic clean energy.
"We're confident the White House and Congress understand the stakes for the extension of the 1603 tax credit for America's economic competitiveness, manufacturing base, and domestic energy supplies," Bode said. "We are powering the American way of life, and extending this successful tax credit is an important part of the unfinished business of this Congress."
AWEA is the national trade association of America's wind industry, with 1,200 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world's largest wind power trade show, the WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Chicago, May 5-8, 2013. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Look up information on wind energy at the AWEA website. Find insight on industry issues at AWEA's blog Into the Wind. Join AWEA on Facebook. Follow AWEA on Twitter.