With thousands of wind-energy jobs in Colorado and Kansas hanging in the balance, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) are making a bipartisan push to extend a wind energy tax credit that is currently set to expire at the end of 2012 if Congress fails to act. If the tax credit is not extended soon, new wind energy development projects and the thousands of jobs associated with those projects are expected to drop significantly after 2012.
In response, Bennet and Moran have filed an amendment that would extend the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) for one year to a bill currently under debate in the U.S. Senate. The extension of the wind energy PTC is fully paid for. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) is a cosponsor of the amendment.
"Colorado stands to suffer a huge economic blow if Congress can't get its act together and extend this critical tax credit," Bennet said. "The wind energy tax credit has been a huge plus for Colorado in terms of jobs created and advancing a diversified energy portfolio. This tax credit has bipartisan support, and Colorado companies are counting on us to get it across the finish line. It's time to act."
"If we expect the wind energy industry to make long-term investments in their businesses and provide for our country's future energy needs, Congress must quickly work to reauthorize the wind production tax credit," Moran said. "Our failure to extend this tax credit would destabilize this growing manufacturing industry and cost thousands of American jobs. Kansas manufacturers are depending on Congress to provide long-term stability and we cannot afford to miss this opportunity to invest in our energy future."
Colorado is a wind energy leader, currently generating the third highest percentage of power from wind of any state in the nation. Colorado is home to several major wind energy developers and wind turbine manufacturing facilities, employing upwards of 6,000 workers statewide.
Kansas is ranked second in the United States in wind resource potential and leads the nation in wind capacity currently under construction. With hundreds of Kansans employed in manufacturing and installing wind farm components, Kansas is a national leader in wind energy production.
Nationally, expiration of the wind production tax credit could cost as many as 37,000 jobs, according to the American Wind Energy Association.