WASHINGTON—American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode issued the following statement today as 16 Republican House freshmen and two of their Democratic colleagues sent a letter to House leadership requesting immediate extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for American wind energy:
"I want to thank Rep. Kristi Noem and her 17 colleagues in the House freshman class for fighting for USA wind jobs. They understand that affordable, homegrown wind power is creating one of our best new sources of clean American electricity and tens of thousands of American manufacturing jobs in the process. The PTC is an example of effective, job-creating tax policy, but with expiration looming at the end of the year, 37,000 good American jobs are in peril. That is why Congress must act now to save USA wind jobs and keep this success story moving forward."
Further facts about wind power:
--Supporters in both parties have been raising this issue since late last year as an urgent action item for Congress, including more than 100 cosponsors of HR 3307 (almost a quarter of them Republicans) and S 2201.
--The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, American Farm Bureau, and Edison Electric Institute are among over 400 organizations and companies endorsing the PTC extension.
--A bipartisan coalition of 23 governors led by Gov. Terry Branstad (R-Iowa) supports extending the PTC. Gov. Branstad recently wrote The Wall Street Journal on its economic benefits.
--Republican, Democratic and Independent voters broadly support wind power and its expansion.
--Highlighting the bipartisan nature of wind power was a recent dialogue between Karl Rove, former senior advisor to President George W. Bush, and Robert Gibbs, former Press Secretary and advisor to President Obama at WINDPOWER 2012 in Atlanta, Ga. As Rove stated, "You don't need moderates to get this done. You need conservative Republicans who say this means jobs to my district and a resource we've got plenty of. And you need Democrats to say this is a way to expand the range of options that we have as a country for energy."
The wind energy Production Tax Credit
--American wind power's key federal incentive (the 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour Production Tax Credit, or PTC) only applies to projects that succeed in putting electricity on the grid. It will expire Dec. 31, 2012, unless Congress extends it.
--The PTC has not been allowed to expire since 2005, when President George W. Bush signed it into law as part of the Energy Policy Act.
--This successful policy over the past five years has incentivized $15.5 billion a year on average in private investment in the U.S. U.S. domestic content has expanded from 25% to over 60% today. Wind has installed 35% of all U.S. electric generating capacity, a close second to natural gas.
American wind power
--Using wind to generate utility-scale electricity was invented in America, and a vast U.S. resource of this clean, homegrown energy is still available to be tapped.
--Technological innovation and domestic sourcing has helped drive down costs of electricity for utilities and consumers, since transportation alone can be 20% of the cost of installing a wind turbine.
--Over 470 new American factories currently employ 30,000 workers in the wind energy supply chain from coast-to-coast. But orders for 2013 now hang on the tax credit's extension.
--Layoffs are beginning across the industry because of uncertainty over the PTC, with 10,000 jobs expected to be lost by year's end, and 37,000 job losses predicted within a year in a study by Navigant Consulting.
--On the other hand, Navigant said that with predictable policies, wind could grow to 100,000 jobs by 2016. And, the U.S. Department of Energy predicted during the Bush administration that wind could support 500,000 jobs by 2030, and make 20% of America's electricity.
"Wind projects typically have an 18- to 24-month development cycle. So effectively the PTC is already expiring," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "That is why an extension is urgently needed now. We can't afford to wait until the PTC runs out."
"Extending the PTC already has broad bipartisan support, but Congress and the President need to act," Bode said. "Let us finish the job of creating this industry."