The day after the elections, the American Wind Energy Association celebrated the reelection of President Obama and most of AWEA’s key champions in Congress. The AWE is wasting no time to lobby legislators to extend the Production Tax Credit, which is set to expire Dec. 31.
Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA, said in a press call, the wind industry is burdened with having to repeatedly ask for extension of the PTC, and the stakes are higher now because the industry has built manufacturing plants in the US.
Layoffs have affected workers in Iowa and Colorado with at least 4,000 jobs already lost, according to AWEA.
“We look forward to immediate action for the sake of 37,000 jobs that remain online,” said Bode. “It takes us 18 months to develop wind projects, and almost 500 manufacturers are facing no orders next year.”
Among the Republican wind champions reelected to Congress were outspoken House supporters Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Steve King (R-IA) and Tom Latham (R-IA), and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV). Swing states with numerous wind farms as well as wind factories went for President Obama, whose campaign took the position that the wind energy PTC should be extended.
Asked how long the PTC should exist, Bode said, “We’ve always said wind energy won’t need a tax credit forever,” adding that AWEA would be amenable to a phase-out of the credit as part of a broader incentive package. She did point out that if the PTC expires, the wind energy industry would be “the only energy source without public tax support.”
The PTC has been in effect continuously since 2005. It drives investment in wind farms by offering tax relief to their operators according to how much electricity they make.