BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, I rise once again to discuss the production tax credit for wind energy, and I wish to urge all my colleagues to extend it as soon as possible.
I have been coming to the Senate floor on an ongoing basis to highlight the tremendous growth of the wind energy industry from Colorado, to Texas, to Pennsylvania. Today I would like to talk about the future of clean energy jobs in the great State of Rhode Island.
If we look around our country, we find success stories everywhere, and wind energy is a bright spot for communities across America that supports good manufacturing jobs in places such as the United States and Rhode Island, and this is despite the great recession.
Rhode Island has dedicated itself to building a clean energy future, a key part of which is offshore wind energy. The entire eastern seaboard has massive offshore wind potential, and Rhode Island is one of the first States to begin construction on a project off of its coast. If we look at the chart I have here, we can see the potential for job creation, and we also see that Rhode Island is on track to meet 75 percent of its energy needs through offshore wind development.
Rhode Island has been the beneficiary of a number of companies locating themselves there, but one in particular I wish to call attention to is TPI Composites. It has been manufacturing wind turbine blades at its facilities in Warren, RI, for years. The decision to move to Warren was a good one for TPI because Rhode Island is known for its manufacturing acumen. And good-paying jobs have been the result of TPI's locating itself in Warren, RI.
In fact, I might also mention that President Obama just paid a visit to a TPI facility in Iowa last month. TPI has also opened a facility just across the Rhode Island State line in Fall River, MA. They will also focus on the development and manufacturing of wind blades for offshore wind turbines.
But I want to return to the reason I am coming to the floor of the Senate on a daily basis. With the looming expiration of the production tax credit, orders for new wind blades have dropped and TPI has been forced to cut its Rhode Island workforce by 15 percent. In fact, its new facility in Fall River sits empty and idle as new wind blade development has been put on hold.
This is why I keep coming to the floor--because we need to pass an extension of the wind production tax credit. It equals jobs. We need to pass it as soon as possible. It is a travesty that we have not extended the wind production tax credit, particularly at a time when we still need to create more jobs.
I know the two Senators from Rhode Island agree with me. Communities such as Warren, RI, have benefited from the growth in the wind energy industry, but they are still hurting because of the great recession. Our failure to act is making things worse. We face a stark choice: We can let the PTC expire and continue to lose good-paying Rhode Island jobs or we can invest in America's future and take advantage of a manufacturing sector that is poised to expand.
The development of offshore wind is coming to the eastern seaboard, and the opportunities for American manufacturers such as TPI to grow their business and beat our international competitors are right there within our grasp. There is simply so much more economic growth possible if we would just simply extend the PTC.
Our inaction is stunting the growth of this important industry today. That is why I urge my colleagues to join us in extending the wind PTC as soon as possible.
I am pleased my colleagues from Rhode Island--who of course know their home State better than I could ever hope to--have joined me, Senator Reed and Senator Whitehouse. They know the difficult economic challenges their State has faced and they know how important the production tax credit is to jobs in their State. They have spent their public service careers fighting for the middle class, fighting for policies that create good-paying, American-based jobs. I am very much interested in hearing what they have to say on this important subject. So as my colleagues have come to expect, I will be back on the floor tomorrow talking about the wind PTC every day, until we pass the extension of it.
I look forward to hearing from my colleagues from the State of Rhode Island.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT