The wind industry ramped up pressure on Congress Wednesday to extend a key tax credit, arguing that thousands of jobs are at stake.
“We have a lot riding on this, not only as an industry, but as a country,” Denise Bode, president of the American Wind Energy Association, the wind industry trade group, told reporters.
AWEA has been lobbying hard for the extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for wind, which provides a credit for each kilowatt-hour of electricity that is produced. The PTC for wind expires at the end of the year.
Bode was joined Wednesday on a conference call with reporters by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) and Steve King (R-Iowa), co-sponsors of House legislation to extend the tax credit.
“It would be a tragedy if we were unable to get moving on this,” Blumenauer said, adding that the PTC must be extended as soon as possible so that companies can make investment decisions.
Bode pointed to a study commissioned by AWEA that says expiration of the PTC could cost as many as 37,000 jobs in the wind industry. Because wind projects take about 18 months to get online, failure to extend the PTC would result in major uncertainty in the industry, she said.
By September of October, “you will see a significant amount of the remaining manufacturing jobs being furloughed or laid off,” Bode said.
The conference call comes a day before a House Ways and Means Committee panel is slated to hold a hearing on various tax provisions set to expire this year. King will testify at the hearing on the PTC for wind.
Bode said the House hearing, along with discussion among some lawmakers in the Senate, is a sign that the Congress is taking extension of the PTC seriously. But she acknowledged that partisan politics make the path forward for the extension uncertain.
“With the tremendous lack of coordination across the aisle, it is very difficult to do anything,” she said, adding that industry groups are looking for a legislative vehicle to extend the PTC for wind and various other renewable energy tax credits.
King, asked whether he sees a path forward for a PTC extension, said he planned to gather “intel” at Thursday’s hearing.
“There’s a lot of things that are unpredictable around this town and you’ve got to do the right thing everyday and trust that it’s going to emerge on the other sides,” King said.