Today on the floor of the House of Representatives, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) offered amendments calling for immediate action to prevent the imminent collapse of the wind energy industry, and the loss of 37,000 American jobs, including 1,000 just in California.
The fast growing wind industry is crucial to securing energy independence and employs over 75,000 workers across the U.S. However, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which supports the development of this emerging industry, is set to expire at the end of the year. The PTC, which is contingent upon energy production, helps wind energy businesses by attracting private investment.
"The wind energy industry in this country is about to come to a screeching halt," said Congressman Garamendi. "Instead of wasting billions padding the pockets of Big Oil, we should invest in the clean energy industries of the future, so once again we can Make It In America."
Congressman Garamendi submitted two amendments to the so-called Strategic Production Act, a bill that greatly benefits oil and gas producers while wasting the enormous growth potential of renewable energy. Garamendi's first amendment called for a study of how the expiring tax credits would impact the expected increase in wind energy production over the next four years. The second amendment expressed the sense of Congress that wind energy is of the utmost importance to the supply of our future energy needs and thus the job creating wind energy PTC should be extended. The House Republican Majority prevented both amendments from being considered.
Local wind energy companies like NextEra and Enxco have been able to successfully expand production over the past few years in both Solano and Alameda counties, but if the PTC is not extended these expansions will likely cease, leading to avoidable job layoffs.
Congressman Garamendi is the author of H.R. 487, The Manufacture Renewable Energy Systems: Make It In America Act, which would create American jobs by requiring federal tax dollars for renewable energy systems are spent only on projects manufactured in the United States. As a state legislator, Garamendi wrote the first ever state clean energy tax credit.