Today, Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet partnered with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to introduce bipartisan legislation to extend for two years the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) that supports thousands of jobs throughout Colorado and anchors a booming renewable energy sector. They hope to pass the extension as quickly as possible in order to give tax certainty for Colorado's burgeoning renewable energy industries.
The American Energy and Job Promotion Act (S.2201) - which is also co-sponsored by Senators Scott Brown (R-Mass), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Dean Heller (R-Nev) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore) - would prevent a lapse in the wind energy PTC scheduled to expire at the end of the year and provide tax certainty for the businesses investing in Colorado jobs. Without an extension, more than 6,000 Colorado jobs and as many as 37,000 jobs nationwide could be lost. In fact, manufacturers such as Vestas, which has several facilities in Colorado, may lay off more than 80 percent of its Colorado workforce if the PTC is not extended soon.
"Extending the wind energy tax credit is a move that can give Coloradans and Americans a great return on investment - a stronger economy, more local jobs and more affordable power for our homes," Udall said. "With employers like Vestas willing to invest in Colorado, Congress needs to act well before the deadline and give these employers certainty to plan ahead - otherwise those jobs will move to other countries. Failing to extend the production tax credit for wind energy will threaten the industry's growth and Colorado jobs, and I'll continue to push my colleagues for a better solution where Colorado keeps our jobs."
"The wind energy tax credit has been a huge plus for Colorado. It has helped create jobs and advance a diversified energy portfolio," Bennet said. "This tax credit has bipartisan support, and Colorado companies are counting on us to get it across the finish line. Congress should act now."
Udall and Bennet have been vocal proponents for extending the wind PTC and supporting Colorado's wind industry. Last month, they joined Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas in introducing a bipartisan amendment to extend the wind PTC, and sent a letter urging the leaders in both parties to act on the wind PTC as soon as possible.
Today, the wind industry supports 75,000 American jobs and drives as much as $20 billion in private investment. During the past five years, 35 percent of all new electric generation in the United States was wind. This expansion has directly led to the growth in domestic wind manufacturing, which has supported many rural communities across Colorado. There are nearly 400 manufacturing facilities today, compared with just 30 in 2004.