In the wake of today's announcement from Nordex USA, Inc. that it will cease manufacturing wind turbine housings at its factory in Jonesboro, Arkansas, largely because of unpredictable U.S. policies, the U.S. wind energy industry renewed its call for a predictable tax policy to keep U.S. manufacturing jobs.
"Wind power has been good for Arkansas consumers and businesses, and wind power could do a lot more for the state if we had predictable national policies to create a stable business environment," said Rob Gramlich, Senior Vice President for Public Policy of the American Wind Energy Association. "That starts by keeping the federal Production Tax Credit in place to allow wind energy to scale up as rapidly as it can. Nordex said uncertainty is one of the main reasons for their business decision to cease building wind turbine nacelles in Jonesboro."
"Arkansas has positioned itself to take advantage of the wind industry's growth in the region, which is providing low-cost electricity in Arkansas and exporting energy east," Gramlich added. "And consumers are saving, because wind power holds down the overall cost of electricity on fixed-price contracts. But predictable policies to create a stable business environment are critical, especially if we want to maintain this new U.S. manufacturing sector and tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. That will take action by Congress."
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas, responded to the news today by saying, "I’ve always supported the renewable energy production tax credit. Unfortunately, some in Congress believe we should cut funding for renewable energy. I hope we’ll consider a long-term production tax credit as part of comprehensive tax reform. These companies need more certainty than a one-year extension.”
Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, commented, "Promising industries like wind turbine production are particularly sensitive to this uncertainty as Washington has been unable to tell them what their tax burden will be beyond a very short term. You can’t make major planning decisions from a business perspective on that timeframe."
On the wind energy tax credit, Sen. Boozman added that, "there must be a longer term extension in place so that companies like Nordex and Mitsubishi can grow and put Arkansans to work. I support the credit, have voted for the extensions, and would like to see the wind tax credit authorized for a longer time period to provide certainty to business owners."
Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas commented today, "I have been saying for years that there must be stable tax policy with this kind of intense capital investment. Congress has totally failed to provide one, wavering year-to-year on the wind energy tax credit. This indecisiveness is costing Arkansas, and America, jobs."